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Cablegate: Niger: Mnj Attacks Agadez

VZCZCXRO6147
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHNM #0693 1960730
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 140730Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY NIAMEY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4414
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUZEHAA/CDR USEUCOM INTEL VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CDR USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS NIAMEY 000693

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MOPS PGOV ASEC NG
SUBJECT: NIGER: MNJ ATTACKS AGADEZ

1. (U) The MNJ reports on its web site that it attacked
Agadez around 6:30 in the evening of July 10. It claims that
the attack is the prelude for an offensive, and warns
civilians to stay away from military and government
facilities in the interior of the country. It also
reiterates its claim that its number two, Acherif Mohamed
Almoctar, and three other MNJ fighters were captured alive.
It threatens grave consequences if they are killed.

2. (U) As of the morning of July 14, there have been no
formal GON statements about the incident, nor has the
government media reported it. The governor of Agadez was
cited in the international press as saying that there was
rocket and heavy weapons fire, and that several shells landed
near a hospital and his residence. The GON had previously
claimed that Acerif and the other MNJ members were killed in
battle.

3. (SBU) Other sources confirm that there was an attack on
Agadez, although they differ on details. An American citizen
in Agadez reported hearing four explosions near the governors
residence around midnight July 10/11, followed by helicopters
circling the area. An Embassy LES learned from police
contacts in Agadez that there was an attack on the governor's
residence and a military base about a mile north of Agadez,
and that the FAN responded with rockets, but there were no
injuries. The French DATT said that the MNJ fired three
rockets and a mortar round the night of July 10/11. The
rockets landed near the hospital, but did not explode. The
mortar round landed and exploded near the governor's
residence. He also reports that there were no injuries.

4. (SBU) Comment: The MNJ has been threatening the GON
regarding the fate of Acherif since he was either captured or
killed in a GON offensive. The attack on Agadez, while
having little effect militarily, was probably aimed at
demonstrating that it still has the ability to strike.
ALLEN

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