Cablegate: Unrest and Turmoil in Camps Create Suspicions of Gos
PP RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1680/01 3031115
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 301115Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8982
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHRN/USMISSION UN ROME
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KHARTOUM 001680
STATE FOR AF/SPG, PRM, AND ALSO PASS USAID/W
USAID FOR DCHA SUDAN TEAM, AFR/SP
NAIROBI FOR USAID/DCHA/OFDA, USAID/REDSO, AND FAS
GENEVA FOR NKYLOH
NAIROBI FOR SFO
NSC FOR PMARCHAM, MMAGAN, AND TSHORTLEY
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
USUN FOR TMALY
BRUSSELS FOR PBROWN
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID PREF PGOV PHUM SOCI UN SU
SUBJECT: UNREST AND TURMOIL IN CAMPS CREATE SUSPICIONS OF GOS
REF: A) KHARTOUM 1659 B) KHARTOUM 1661
KHARTOUM 00001680 001.2 OF 003
1.(SBU) On October 20, the Governor of South Darfur announced plans
to divide Kalma internally displaced person (IDP) camp into nine
smaller camps outside of Nyala. Kalma Camp has been the site of
rioting by majority Fur against minority Zaghawa African tribes,
exacerbated by tensions between non-signatory and signatory rebel
groups (chiefly SLM-Minawi). The proposed plan would separate the
92,000 IDPs that live in Kalma along ethnic lines and move IDPs
closer to their areas of origin. The humanitarian community is
extremely concerned over the government's plan to relocate IDPs from
Kalma because it opens the door for non-voluntary returns and is not
implemented in accordance with humanitarian principles, which
mandate that new sites be assessed for suitability and that IDPs
should be allowed to freely `choose whether or not to move. The
Sudanese Government has denied to us that this is their intention.
A simiar situation has unfolded in Hamadiya IDP camp in Zalingei,
West Darfur, in recent days, leading many within the humanitarian
community to fear that we are seeing the beginning of a larger
relocation trend in Darfur. End Summary.
Kalma IDP Camp
2.(SBU) Following several days of interethnic fighting in Kalma
camp, Sudanese government forces, repelled at first by IDPs, entered
Kalma on October 19 and began shooting, burning structures, and
arresting IDPs suspected of participating in the tribal
bloodletting. The USAID-supported Justice and Confidence Center and
other USAID partners' facilities are believed to have been damaged
or destroyed. Deaths have been confirmed in the camp, but detailed
figures are not yet available.
3.(SBU) As a result of the interethnic fighting in the camp, an
estimated 30,000 IDPs have left the camp. Aid agencies report that
the predominantly Zaghawa sectors of 4, 7, and 8 are nearly empty,
but 60,000 IDPs remain in Kalma camp, as of October 24. Between 500
to 600 IDPs are now living around the camp, an estimated 4,000
people have arrived in Otash IDP camp, and approximately 100 people
have arrived in Al Salam IDP camp. Agencies estimate that more than
1,800 people are residing in Nyala town. Other IDPs are believed to
be moving to neighboring towns, such as Mukjar or Ed Al Fursan.
4.(SBU) Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working in Darfur have
stated that they cannot take a position on the proposed division of
the camp as that would further strain their relationship with the
government and jeopardize their ability to continue to provide
humanitarian services in Darfur. The UN is drafting a common
position on the issue and has briefed donors on the situation.
5.(SBU) The lack of a camp coordinating agency in Kalma continues to
be a problem. Kalma has not had a camp coordinator since November
2006 when the Norwegian Refugee Council pulled out of Darfur due to
repeated suspension of their activities by government officials.
Currently, the Government of National Unity (GNU) is blocking the
Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) from
expanding and providing camp coordination in North and South Darfur.
Without a camp coordinator, Kalma camp does not have a focal point
for resolving disputes in the camp, ensuring the safety of
vulnerable groups, and liaising with the government on camp issues.
6.(SBU) The humanitarian community has raised concern over several
of the sites proposed by the government for relocation because they
are located in insecure areas making them harder for the
humanitarian community to access. The GNU has stated that it is
unable to set up now camps without the support of the international
community. CDA Fernandez assured the Sudanese MFA that any
unilaterally declared new camps would have no US support, and we are
the largst donor. UN agencies and the International Organization for
Migration (IOM) plan to assess the proposed sites to determine their
suitability in the coming days. However, the assessment has been
KHARTOUM 00001680 002.2 OF 003
repeatedly delayed. In the meantime, aid agencies may set up a
transitional area in Nyala that would function for two months and
provide services to 20,000 people. Additionally, an investigation
is needed to determine the extent of damage to the camp, further
risks for IDPs remaining in Kalma, and the motivation for violence.
Medecins Sans Frontieres recently visited Kalma to provide immediate
life-saving services. However, it is still unclear when other
relief agencies will be able to return.
Hamadiya IDP Camp
7.(SBU) On October 20, a 10-vehicle convoy of Sudanese Armed Forces
(SAF) surrounded Hamadiya IDP camp, shooting guns and arresting some
IDPs. This incident was triggered by the murder of an SAF soldier
in the camp earlier that day. Arab militias surrounded the upper
part of the camp. Unconfirmed reports indicate that four IDPs were
killed and four SAF were also killed in the fighting. On October
21, the camp was reportedly calm, but increasingly militarized IDP
youth had mobilized to patrol the camp.
8.(SBU) On October 23, the Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) in
Zalingei locality issued a letter forbidding all NGO activities in
Hamadiya camp. The letter also forbids all humanitarian activities,
except for water and health services, in other Zalingei-area camps.
In subsequent meetings, the HAC indicated plans to move IDPs from
Hamadiya into smaller camps in other locations.
Part of a Larger Trend?
9.(SBU) With back to back incidents in Haskanita, Muhajeria, Kalma,
and Zalingei, many within the humanitarian community are wondering
if we are seeing the implemtation of a larger strategy on the part
of the government to break up the IDP camps in Darfur. In October,
civilian casualties are markedly higher than in previous months,
according to the UN, and displaced populations in Kalma, Muhajeria,
and Haskanita have dispersed due to attacks. The recent fighting
led 30,000 people to leave the Haskanita area and at least 15,000 to
leave Muhajeria. The violence in Kalma has also displaced at least
30,000 people. While new displacement (for a variety of reasons,
including fighting between pro-government Arab tribes) has been a
steady trend throughout 2007, the recent escalated violence could be
related to broader changes on Darfur's political horizon.
10.(SBU) One can only speculate what the causes of the recent
upsurge in violence are linked to -- the upcoming peace talks in
Libya, the deployment of the UN-AU Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), the
upcoming census, or the Sudanese government's desire to strengthen
their control over humanitarian operations. The implications of
what we are seeing on the ground with the recent attacks, require
further analysis to determine which groups are being displaced and
for what reason.
11.(SBU) It is critical that the humanitarian community stress to
the government the need for IDPs to be allowed to freely choose
whether or not to move to the proposed new locations. Any new
proposed sites for IDPs must meet all international humanitarian
standards and any transition must not further expose IDPs to
violence, exploitation, or health risks (Embassy makes these points
to MFA and will continue to do so)..
12.(SBU) On October 25, CDA Fernandez raised these issues with
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) officials (REF B). In the
meeting, the MFA registered surprise and doubt that these incidents
were part of a government policy and proposed forming a committee
with the HAC to discuss the events unfolding in Darfur.
13.(SBU) While there is increasing ethnic turmoil among IDPs,rising
KHARTOUM 00001680 003.2 OF 003
crime, and militarization within these camps, these events should
not mask or excuse SAF/GOS attempts at score-setting or disguised
forced re-settlement of IDPs. End comments.