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Cablegate: Unamid: Chinese Engineering Company Begins

VZCZCXRO1669
OO RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHGI RUEHJO RUEHMA RUEHMR RUEHPA RUEHRN RUEHROV
RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #1735 3110655
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 070655Z NOV 07 ZDS CTG RUCOSGG 5296 3110733
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 9100
INFO RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001735

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

C O R R E C T E D C O P Y (PARA MARKINGS 4,5)

////// ZDS //// PLEASE DELETE ALL PREVIOUS COPIES ////

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AS A/S FRAZER, AF S/E NATSIOS, AND AF/SPG,
NSC FOR PITTMAN AND HUDSON
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL KPKO MARR AU UN SU
SUBJECT: UNAMID: CHINESE ENGINEERING COMPANY BEGINS
DEPLOYMENT AMIDST SECURITY CONCERNS

1. (SBU) Chinese Embassy Defense Attache Colonel Dong Jian
Dong told poloff November 6 that, starting November 7, the
first of eleven flights using IL-76 aircraft will begin to
arrive in Nyala. Over a period of ten days, the flights will
transport equipment and supplies for the construction of the
Chinese engineering company's portion of the UNAMID camp for
Sector III. Beginning November 10, three flights using
AN-124 aircraft (too large for any airport in Sudan outside
Khartoum) will fly into Khartoum International Airport
transporting heavy construction equipment. (Note: Dong did
not explain how the heavy equipment would be transported to
Nyala, though it was clear that this would be a challenge.)

2. (SBU) Dong said he expected that by November 30 the first
tranche of 135 construction engineers will arrive. The
initial tranche will erect a camp for the remainder of the
315 Chinese soldiers. He estimated that construction of the
Chinese camp will take two to three weeks, but would be
dependent on the arrival of materials from Port Sudan. He
anticipated construction would be completed by late December,
but expressed concern about possible delays. &The port is
too small to quickly unload the materials and it will take
five to seven days to move items from Port Sudan to Nyala.8

3. (SBU) Once all 315 engineers are in place, the Chinese
will construct a &supercamp8 for the rest of the Hybrid
force, which will be located 11 kilometers north of Nyala.
Dong said it will take six months to construct the entire
supercamp, though here again he predicted that logistics
would be a problem that could cause further delays. The
first detachment comes with 60 days of rations, but after
that UNAMID is to supply food for his troops and construction
materials for the supercamp.

4. (SBU) Dong said UNAMID promised him the engineering company
would have "adequate protection," provided by Sector III,s
Nigerian Battalion contingent. He said the 315 Chinese
engineers includes 40 force protection troops, although he
hopes for 40 more internal security troops at a later date.
Dong expressed concern about the ability of the Nigerian
battalion to provide adequate security, given their lack of
experience on the ground in Sudan, their need for armored
personnel carriers (APCs), and their lack of communications
equipment. He said that UNAMID Sector Headquarters still
lacks radio capability to communicate with troops in the
field. "The Nigerians who are to protect the engineers do
not have adequate protection themselves. If we have no
protection, there will be no construction."

5. (SBU) Comment: The imminent deployment of the Chinese
engineering company is a positive development. Given Sudan's
reliance on China for economic and political support, the
Sudanese are unlikely to obstruct their equipment and
materials at the port. However the apparent lack of
preparation by DPKO for UNAMID deployment, as shown by
serious gaps in communication capacity and logistics
planning, is troubling and is not a good sign in the early
stages of deployment. Moreover security at the supercamp,
which is currently more isolated and therefore exposed, will
be a challenge and will require round-the-clock protection to
prevent attacks and looting. The Chinese unit will especially
present an inviting target to various rebel groups because of
the perceived cozy relationship between Beijing and the
Khartoum regime. Keeping the Chinese company protected and a
continuing part of the UNAMID operation has obvious political
advantages. End Comment
FERNANDEZ

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