Cablegate: The Nuba Mountains: Where Insecurity and Integration Are A

DE RUEHKH #1427/01 2651425
O 211425Z SEP 08




E.O. 12958: N/A


1. (SBU) Poloffs traveled to Kadugli, Southern Kordofan, the heart
of the Nuba Mountains, on 13-16 September. Southern Kordofan state,
which shares its own CPA protocol with Blue Nile State, faces a
number of unique challenges, one being the integration of
formerly-controlled SPLA areas into the NCP-run federal and state
administration. Integration of the SPLA police with the federal
police began in July in Southern Kordofan. While UNMIS claims
integration is proceeding smoothly, SPLM leaders in the area
questioned the NCP and the SPLM's commitment to the effort.

2. (SBU) Southern Kordofan bears the brunt of NCP complaints about
lack of SPLA redeployment, with thousands of Nuba SPLA remaining
north of the January 1, 1956 border in Southern Kordofan despite
attempts to redeploy them south of the border to Lake Abiad. While
the SAF 31st brigade did redeploy out of Abyei, there is still
concern about a growing SAF presence northwest of Abyei that are
within striking distance of the volatile region. Furthermore, all
parties (UNMIS, NCP, and SPLM) claim that the lack of disarmament,
demobilization, and reintegration (DDR) is a cause for concern in
the state, particularly for SPLA forces that have not been
integrated or redeployed. Finally, the well-known presence of other
armed groups (OAGs - primarily PDF forces armed by the SAF but also
some former SPLA forces) running amok in the area significantly adds
to the state's insecurity and increasing fearfulness and ill ease
among its residents.

3. (SBU) Situated on a large compound noticeably removed from the
town of Kadugli, UNMIS Sector IV military personnel, totaling 1626,
(Egyptian battalion, Indian Air Support, and Bangladeshi Police)
claim the chief insecurity concerns in Southern Kordofan include:
low capacity of the police, lack of disarmament, demobilization, and
reintegration (DDR), increasing SAF troop levels at Kharasana
(outside the interim borders of Abyei), and the movement of armed
SPLA troops from Lake Abiad back and forth to the Nuba Mountains.

4. (SBU) UNMIS milobs claim that integration of SPLA police from the
formerly SPLA-controlled areas such as Kauda and Julud, which began
in July, is going smoothly and that there is "no reluctance" from
the former SPLM areas to integrate (reftel). So far, 1500 SPLA
police have been recruited and are being trained in Khartoum, Wad
Medani, and Kadugli. An additional 1500 SPLA police have been
rejected for integration by the federal police, largely on medical
grounds. Milobs claim that while the police integration project is
moving ahead, there is uncertainty about what to do with the 1500
SPLA police that are out of a job. According to the milobs, many
are returning to their homes with their weapons. Milobs claim that
GoS police have moved into former SPLA-controlled areas. Although
there have been no major incidents between civilians and GoS police,
milobs say that the lack of trust between civilians and the police
hampers the effectiveness of the GoS police in SPLA areas.

5. (SBU) Recently-returned Deputy Governor of Southern Kordofan
Daniel Kodi (SPLM), who just spent over two months outside of Sudan
for medical reasons, tells a different story. Integration in the
state is "not going well at all." It is not a matter of integration,
but absorption," he said. Where do we put the 1500 former SPLA
police who have been rejected by the federal police? Kodi lashed
out at the possibility of deploying former SPLA police outside of
the state of Southern Kordofan. "This is a violation of the CPA,"
he said. Those training in Kadugli are living in tents, have a small
training place and few facilities. The GoS Police will delay the
training process and frustrate the new recruits, he claimed.
Furthermore, all SPLA police are being inducted as new recruits
without regard to their former rank. This is unacceptable, said
Kodi, and some may choose to return to the formerly SPLA-controlled

6. (SBU) In a separate meeting, Southern Kordofan Minister of
Finance Ahmed Saeed (SPLM) said that while police integration is a
"significant step" for the state, he is concerned that some people
are not taking integration seriously. Integration is the NCP's way
of gaining access to the formerly-controlled SPLA areas, claimed
Saeed. For integration to work, both the NCP and the SPLM need to
be committed to it, he said.


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7. (SBU) According to Egyptian military observers, the Sudanese
Armed Forces (SAF) maintain two regular infantry divisions in
Southern Kordofan State - the 5th division in Kadugli and the 14th
division in Dilling. The divisions are spread out across 189
locations in Southern Kordofan. Milobs expressed concern about the
growing presence of SAF troops around the area of Kharasana, on the
border of Southern Kordofan and Unity State. The SAF deployed its
85th brigade to the area after the April clashes between the
Misseriya and the Dinka which left the town in ruins. The SAF has
not permitted UNMIS access to the area to verify SAF's growing troop
levels. UNMIS believes the build-up of SAF troops in Kharasana is a
strategic move by NCP, given Kharasana's proximity to Abyei. Deputy
Speaker of the Southern Kordofan Legislative Assembly Saddig Mansour
(SPLM) lamented the fact that the SAF has not reduced its forces to
a "peacetime level" in Southern Kordofan, as mandated by the CPA.
The SAF is spread in strategic areas across Southern Kordofan, said
Mansour, and continues to occupy schools and hospitals.

8. (SBU) In October of 2007, the SPLA claimed that it had 22,601
troops in the Nuba Mountains area. According to UNMIS milobs, the
SPLA's 4th front began redeployment to Lake Abiad, on the border
with Southern Kordofan and Unity State, south of the January 1, 1956
border, in December 2007. The SPLA did not allow UNMIS to verify
its forces at Lake Abiad until July 2008. At that time, the SPLA
claimed it had 6000 of its 22,601 troops at Lake Abiad, but UNMIS
only counted 3878. An additional 3000 SPLA troops were absorbed by
the Joint Integrated Unit (JIU) in Southern Kordofan. According to
UNMIS, 15,723 SPLA troops are currently unaccounted for in the Nuba
Mountains area.

9. (SBU) In a separate meeting with Southern Kordofan Minister of
Finance Ahmed Saeed (SPLM), Saeed noted that the removal of the SPLA
brigade to Lake Abiad has left SPLM areas feeling "very vulnerable"
in the SPLA's absence. Furthermore, UNMIS confirmed there is
significant movement of armed SPLA troops from Lake Abiad back and
forth to the Nuba Mountains. UNMIS claims that the brigade's
deployment south of the January 1, 1956 border is almost an
impossible situation because the fighters consider themselves
Nubans, not Southerners, and therefore feel that they belong in the
Nuba Mountains area. Speaker of the Southern Kordofan State
Legislative Assembly, Ibrahim M-Balandia (NCP) said that Lake Abiad
is not a "healthy environment" for the SPLA troops and "we (the NCP)
expect them all to flee" and return to the Nuba Mountains.

10. (SBU) In addition to the NCP's Popular Defense Force (PDF),
which UNMIS confirmed is armed and moving around the state in large
numbers, there is concern about other armed groups (OAGs) that have
the potential to disrupt the fragile peace in Southern Kordofan.
Southern Kordofan Minister of Finance Ahmed Saeed (SPLM) described
the existence of two SPLM splinter groups; one led by former SPLA
General Telephon Kuku and the other by former PDF fighter Al Baloola
(to be reported septel). According to Saeed, these groups are
composed of disgruntled SPLA fighters angered by the lack of peace
dividends that the CPA has brought to Southern Kordofan. The groups
claim they will "raise arms" if the rights of the Nuba are not
respected. When asked about the splinter groups, UNMIS milobs claim
that they have not been able to verify the existence of such groups.
Such statements are only rumors, milobs said.

11. (SBU) Furthermore, traditional leaders, civil society, and
Southern Kordofan government figures expressed concern about the
NCP's arming of Arab tribes in Southern Kordofan. Whereas Arab and
African tribes and herders and agriculturalists used to coexist
peacefully in the Nuba Mountains, the arming of Arab tribes and the
squeeze for precious resources have led to fatal skirmishes,
particularly between the Hawazma and the Nuba, in recent months.
Many, including Deputy Governor Daniel Kodi, claim that the NCP arms
Arab tribes in order to intentionally destabilize the state.

12. (SBU) Although it occurred three years late, the integration of
SPLA police into the national police force has raised the hope of
many that CPA implementation is taking place in Southern Kordofan.
Not surprisingly, the SPLM in Southern Kordofan is extremely
skeptical of the integration and fatalistic about its ability to
succeed. Growing pains in the process are to be expected,
particularly if the SPLA police are deployed outside of Southern

KHARTOUM 00001427 003 OF 003

Kordofan. Of greater concern, however, is the fate of the 1500 SPLA
police who were rejected for integration that UNMIS believes are
currently sitting at home armed and unemployed. The concern is
compounded by the roughly 15,000 "missing" SPLA troops who never
made it to Lake Abiad, have defected since arriving at Lake Abiad,
or routinely move back and forth from Lake Abiad to the Nuba
Mountains. Full defection of the SPLA force from Lake Abiad to the
Nuba Mountains will spell disaster for the redeployment initiative
and leaves the Nuba Mountains area susceptible to violent SAF/SPLA

12. (SBU) The presence of OAGs in Southern Kordofan is a worrisome
reality not only for the citizens of that area, but also for the
fragile peace on the ground. The NCP's tactic of arming one tribe
against another, as it has done in Darfur and southern Sudan, has
fomented bad blood and hostility among groups in the Southern
Kordofan area. Given the strong desire of most Nubans to see a
revision in the CPA that would provide them an autonomous region,
and the rejection by the NCP of such a prospect, there is a very
real possibility of armed conflict in the Nuba Mountains before or
after the 2011 referendum. The people in this region feel abandoned
by the SPLM and manipulated by the NCP, and do not wish to be part
of the North, having been subjugated by northern armies and militias
for decades. Such conflict could be avoided if the NCP offered the
Nuba communities security guarantees, provided better educational
and health services, and integrated the 1500 remaining SPLA police
into the GNU police. The CPA parties also need to negotiate a plan
for integrating the thousands of SPLA forces into the northern army
with rights to be based in their home areas, though this is likely
to be unpalatable to the NCP. Such a discussion is long overdue if
the CPA parties wish to avoid seeing an all-out conflict, similar to
the May fighting in Abyei, break out in the Nuba Mountains during
the lead-up to elections and the referendum.


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