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Cablegate: Unamid Peacekeeper Killed by Unknown Assailants in West

VZCZCXRO9538
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1076 1990841
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 170841Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1361
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001076

DEPT FOR AF/SPG, A/S FRAZER, SE WILLIAMSON
ADDIS ABABA FOR USAU
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: UNAMID PEACEKEEPER KILLED BY UNKNOWN ASSAILANTS IN WEST
DARFUR

1. (SBU) The joint African Union-United Nations force in Darfur
(UNAMID) reported that one of its peacekeepers was killed at
approximately 1600 on July 16 in the remote area of Forobaranga in
West Darfur, near the Chadian border. UNAMID has yet to release an
official report, but UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS)
officers told poloff July 17 that the deceased officer, a Nigerian
company commander, was shot in his vehicle while patrolling the
market area in Forobaranga. Traveling in a platoon comprised of two
armored personnel carriers and an escort vehicle, the victim was in
the front seat of the second vehicle when two assailants "in green
uniforms" came up and shot him before fleeing. Others who were with
the patrol pursued the assailants but were not able to capture them.
(Note: A conflicting account from a US Military Observer with UNAMID
described the incident as a carjacking and asserts the vehicle was
stolen. End note.)

2. (SBU) Comment: Although it is not yet clear who is responsible,
observers familiar with this area of West Darfur note that it is
heavily controlled by janjaweed Arab militias with support from the
SAF. A "green uniform" could be worn by any janjaweed unit member
or, much less likely in this case, some Darfuri rebels. It is too
early to draw any conclusions from this incident as to whether this
was simply a routine carjacking or a politically-calculated attack
on UNAMID but coming after the July 8 attack on peacekeepers and
security measures taken after the July 14 ICC indictment, it is sure
to keep UNAMID on edge even if the three issues turn out to be
totally unrelated. Post will update with additional information as
it becomes available.

FERNANDEZ

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