Cablegate: More to Come with Jem-Gos in West Darfur

DE RUEHKH #2031/01 3551225
O 211225Z DEC 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (SBU) SUMMARY. In a December 20 conversation with FieldOff, a
commander of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in El Fasher
assessed that Government of Sudan (GoS) frustration with JEM for a
December 16 attack on a GoS convoy in West Darfur was to blame for
the GoS' continued detention of a JEM leader. The JEM commander
reported that Chadian rebels recently routed by President Deby in
eastern Chad were in El Geneina and on the move, along with GoS
troops and janjaweed militias, toward Silea, where he predicted
there would be another attack in the coming days against JEM forces.
As in previous conversations, the JEM rep assured FieldOff that JEM
statements in the press against the Chinese contingent of the United
Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) were exaggerated,
and he added they could be allayed altogether if the Chinese were to
address the movements directly. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) In a December 20 conversation with FieldOff, a JEM
commander in El Fasher described his December 18 travel to El
Geneina, West Darfur, in the wake of a JEM attack on a GoS convoy
near Jebel Mun. The attack resulted in the capture by the JEM of 29
Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) soldiers, 32 vehicles and a stock of
heavy weapons, as well as in the deaths of three JEM soldiers and
the severe injury of two others. The JEM rep complained that the
GoS had blocked his entering El Geneina on the basis that he had no
clearance to travel to the area, despite his having obtained
permission from the AU Mission in the Sudan (AMIS) to do so. [NOTE:
The JEM rep had traveled to El Geneina on a special AMIS flight, one
which required express AMIS permission to go to the region. END
NOTE]. Upon his return to El Fasher, the JEM complained to the AMIS
Deputy Force Commander (FC), who recommended registering his
complaint with Khartoum authorities, but so far no action has been
3. (SBU) The JEM commander reported the movement of large numbers of
SAF and Chadian rebel troops from El Geneina toward Silea in what he
considered a precursor for a new attack against JEM positions in the
coming days. He said that the troops included Chadian rebels
recently routed in fighting in eastern Chad by President Deby and
the Chadian National Army (ANT). The JEM rep put the count of
troops moving from El Geneina at 63 Chadian rebel vehicles, 55 SAF
vehicles and 23 janjaweed vehicles. The JEM rep confirmed that JEM
leader Khalil Ibrahim was still in Jebel Mun ahead of the planned
attacks. On the presence of Chadian rebels in El Geneina, the JEM
rep noted they had suffered heavy losses against the ANT and were
flooding El Geneina hospitals, filling every bed, lining the floors
and even occupying space in locals' homes. Once recovered, the JEM
rep expected these rebels to be re-armed and re-supplied by the GoS,
used in its impending campaign against the JEM, and then returned to
Chad. "If I were the Chadian Government," the JEM rep said, "I
would come to El Geneina and attack, because it's now a [Chadian]
rebel town."

4. (SBU) According to the JEM rep, another indication of the GoS'
"displeasure" with the movement was in the arrest and continued
detention of JEM member COL Hamad Hasan Mohamed, who was arrested in
Kulbus on December 14 while allegedly traveling as part of an AU
Ceasefire Commission (CFC) delegation to the area. The JEM rep
acknowledged that Hamad was not an inconspicuous target, his JEM
membership notwithstanding: he was reportedly carrying $75,000 worth
of cash, computers, Thurayas and other equipment with him.
Nevertheless, there has been no word of Hamad's whereabouts, despite
repeated complaints from the JEM rep in El Fasher, who considers
this continued detention as GoS payback for the December 16 attack.
The rep added that it could also be the GoS' way of testing the AU's
mettle with regard to its willingness to protect CFC members.
[NOTE: The JEM insists that Hamad was in possession of his AU ID
card at the time of his arrest. END NOTE].

5. (SBU) In response to FieldOff's mention of the December 17
meeting between UNAMID Joint Special Representative Adada and GoS
Darfur Advisor Nafie (in which Nafie reiterated the GoS preference
for dissolving the CFC Chamber for the Darfur Peace Agreement
non-signatories), the JEM rep pledged that he would return to the
field if such a dissolution occurred. On UNAMID deployment, the JEM
rep reiterated what he had said in previous conversations: that the
JEM's anti-China rhetoric was just empty words. He advised it would
go a long way with the movements if the Chinese were to confront
head-on allegations of collusion with the GoS, allegations shared
not only by the rebel movements but by IDPs and community leaders as
well. He mentioned the possibility of a meeting with the Chinese
Ambassador as a first step in this "reconciliation," something also
discussed in a December 19 meeting between FieldOff and AMIS Deputy

6. (SBU) COMMENT. It is hard to dispute the links between the GoS
military defeat in West Darfur with its current campaign against the
JEM, including its detention of Hamad. It is similarly difficult to
dispute the JEM's defensiveness in the face of provocative actions
it has taken lately against the GoS, both on the battlefield and in
the media. While JEM-GoS conflicts will no doubt continue to rise

KHARTOUM 00002031 002 OF 002

in the immediate future (with involvement of Chadian rebels), steps
could be taken to assuage JEM-UNAMID tensions, particularly with
Transfer of Authority a mere 11 days away. The idea of trying to
counter propaganda against the Chinese component of UNAMID should
not be discounted. A similar, if not less politically charged,
"familiarization" campaign was undertaken when the Bangladeshi
Formed Police Units (FPUs) first arrived in Nyala and were
introduced at Kalma IDP camp. While admittedly a token gesture,
such a step with the Chinese could nonetheless have a hand in
silencing UNAMID naysayers among the Darfur rebel groups, help
establish UNAMID credibility from the outset, and would be a
positive step toward winning over those populations that UNAMID is
mandated to protect. END COMMENT.

7. (SBU) Tripoli minimize considered.


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