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Cablegate: Kidnapping of Chinese Oil Workers in South Kordofan

VZCZCXRO9368
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1550 2941035
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 201035Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2116
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001550

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

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC PGOV PREL KPKO SOCI AU UNSC SU
SUBJECT: KIDNAPPING OF CHINESE OIL WORKERS IN SOUTH KORDOFAN

REF: A) 2007 KHARTOUM 1664

1. (SBU) A political officer at the Chinese Embassy in Khartoum
confirmed to poloff on October 20 that nine (9) Greater Nile
Petroleum Workers were kidnapped on October 18 at approximately noon
by "an unknown armed group" in South Kordofan State. The Chinese
official could not confirm the involvement of the Justice and
Equality Movement. According to this source, a Sudanese driver was
later released, but the nine Chinese employees are still being held.
Representatives from the Chinese embassy are traveling to the
region now to address the situation.

2. (SBU) Also on October 20, Hassan Subahi, a representative of
Misseriya tribe from the Owlad Amran clan predominant in the area of
the attack spoke to poloff. Subahi stated that he was not sure
whether the attack was committed by members of his tribe or another
group. Contrary to information from the Chinese Embassy, Subahi
stated that 6 Chinese and 3 Sudanese were kidnapped. Subahi said
that there are two hostile groups working in their area, one led by
a man named "Rizeigi" from the Owlad Amran clan and another led by
"Fadeel" from the Owlad Kamil. Subahi stated that he was not sure
which group was responsible for the attack, but downplayed the
group's significance saying, "these are local actors that are not
that tied to JEM leadership." Subahi stated that the local
population's frustration with the oil companies' reckless operations
and the industry's failure to benefit their community may have
inspired the attack. He also said that in past kidnappings, foreign
oil companies may have secretly paid ransom money to kidnappers,
essentially encouraging repeated attacks.

3. (SBU) On October 19, the Governor of South Kordofan Umar
Suleiman Adam told CDA Fernandez that a JEM faction led led by
"Fadeel" is responsible for this attack. The Governor claimed that
the group only consists of seven men and is more a group of bandits
than a rebel movement.

4. (SBU) COMMENT: This is not the first time that oil facilities
have been targeted in Sudan. The Defra oil field was attacked by
JEM in October (reftel) and December 2007 and followed by attacks on
Indian facilities in July 2008. Post will continue to follow this
event as it unfolds. END COMMENT.

FERNANDEZ

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