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Cablegate: Jem Claims Responsibility for Defra Attack and Continues To

VZCZCXYZ0014
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKH #1670 3021000
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 291000Z OCT 07 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8953

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001670

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/SPG
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR, AND ALSO PASS USAID

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PHUM SU
SUBJECT: JEM CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY FOR DEFRA ATTACK AND CONTINUES TO
HOLD HOSTAGES

REF: KHARTOUM 1664

1. (SBU) On October 28, Abdulaziz Nur Ushar, who claimed to be the
Deputy Secretary for Political Affairs of the Justice and Equality
Movement (JEM,) told EconOff that his movement is responsible for
the October 24 attack on the Defra oil facility where JEM fighters
allegedly captured five hostages (an Egyptian, Iraqi, and three
Sudanese drivers.) Defra is located in oil block 4 of South
Kordofan state. Ushar stated that the Egyptian hostage claims to be
a Canadian citizen. Ushar promised that JEM was treating the
hostages well, and claimed that "we did not mean to capture the
civilians." He threatened that foreign oil companies must leave the
area by October 31 or face more attacks from JEM. He stated that
JEM will not harm or kill the hostages even if foreign companies
stay past October 31. He said JEM is not motivated by money and
would not accept any ransom for the release of the hostages. He was
not willing to disclose the name of the field commander responsible
for the attack, nor the number of field soldiers involved in it.

2. (SBU) Ushar gave a number of reasons for the attack on the
Greater Nile Petroleum Operating Company (GNPOC) facility. He
claimed that "China helps the Government of Sudan commit genocide,"
stating that the attack on the GNPOC facility is an attack on China.
(Note: The Chinese National Petroleum Company has the largest
share in GNPOC. End Note.) He also stated that all of the men who
participated in the attack were men from Kordofan who decided to
"join the revolution." He noted that these individuals joined his
movement because they were frustrated that they had not benefited
from the oil revenues coming from Kordofan. He added that when the
people of Kordofan have tried to peacefully raise this issue before,
the Sudanese intelligence apparatus countered their protests with
force. He cited a protest in Kordofan from June 2007 as one example
where intelligence operatives killed three protestors from Kordofan.


3. (SBU) Ahmed Daoud, who claimed to be an assistant to Khalil
Ibrahim, the head of the main faction of JEM, also told Emboff on
October 28 that JEM attacked the Defra facility and currently is
holding the hostages. Daoud told EmbOff that foreign oil companies
have until October 31 to leave the area, adding that JEM will then
attack oil fields starting on November 1.

4 (SBU) On October 28, the Vice-President of the Greater Nile
Petroleum Operating Company, Dr. Yousif Mohamed Ahmed told EconOff
that his company continues to negotiate for the release of three
hostages (two contractors of Egyptian and Iraqi nationality, and a
Sudanese driver) taken at the Defra oilfield on October 24. He said
that his company is considering paying $200,000 in ransom for the
release of the hostages. He did not share the names of the
individuals or group holding the hostages when asked who he was
negotiating with.

5. (SBU) Comment: Although there have been isolated attacks on
oil fields in the past (reftel), JEM's threat to specifically target
foreign oil companies in the future appears to be unprecedented. It
is part of a larger effort by this aggressive rebel group to expand
the Darfur conflict into neighboring Kordofan. Post will continue
to attempt to contact the Canadian and Egyptian embassies and meet
officials from the Ministry of Energy and Mining to discuss the GoS
response to this threat. End Comment.

FERNANDEZ

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