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Cablegate: Slm/Mm Attacks Likely Provoked Gos Bombing in South Darfur

VZCZCXRO9028
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #1707/01 3301114
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 251114Z NOV 08
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2396
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001707

DEPT FOR AF A/S FRAZER, SE WILLIAMSON, AF/SPG, AF/C
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: SLM/MM ATTACKS LIKELY PROVOKED GOS BOMBING IN SOUTH DARFUR

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On November 23-24, members of the Sudan
Liberation Movement of Minni Minnawi (SLM/MM) ruefully acknowledged
that their movement attacked a GoS force on November 19. These
sources claimed that the GoS then bombed SLM/MM positions on
November 22, destroying stolen SLM/MM assets. UNDSS contacts
asserted a Russian MiG most likely did bomb positions in South
Darfur this past week, though UNAMID has not been able to confirm
the details of this attack. If true, these contacts stated that
this is the first aerial bombardment in the state since July 2008
and the first confrontation between SLM/MM and the GoS since the
September 19 El-Fasher agreement. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) On November 23, SLM/MM South Darfur representative
Mohaydin Younis told poloff that a joint SLM/MM-SLM/Unity force
attacked a Central Reserve Police convoy north of Nyala between
Thabit and Manawashi on November 19. According to Younis, the
aggressive Ali Karbino led SLA/Unity's forces in the attack. Younis
was reluctant to discuss SLM/MM involvement, but eventually
acknowledged that SLM/MM also participated and stole two GoS gas
trucks in the attack. Younis claimed that the Central Reserve
Police have repeatedly targeted SLM/MM, and that "our problem is
with the CRP," not with humanitarian organizations or the
international community. Younis said that the janjaweed make up the
largest percentage of the CRP and therefore deserve to be targeted
by SLM/MM. Younis added that SLM/MM also considers the CRP to be a
target of opportunity (as it is the best equipped group,) and that
the GoS's neglect of the DPA leaves SLM/MM with no other choice but
to engage in banditry and robbery. Younis reported that GoS air
operations later in the week targeted SLM/MM positions, destroying
the stolen gas tankers.

3. (SBU) Younis also briefly discussed GoS military operations in
other parts of Darfur. According to Younis, SLA/Unity, URF, and
SLA/AW were the primary rebel movements fighting the GoS near Helif
the week of November 16. He also that the GoS bombed a water well
near Kurbia "intentionally targeting the people of the region."
Younis said that the people of Kurbia now have to walk two days to
retrieve water, and that "they are really suffering there."

4. (SBU) SLM/MM members based in Nyala also confirmed that SLM/MM
attacked GoS positions the week of November 16. SLM/MM Secretary
General of South Darfur, Muhammad Adam Salim told poloffs that
SLM/MM fought with Central Reserve Police in Darfur, but claimed
that SLM/MM acted solely in self-defense. Salim and his South
Darfur SLM/MM colleagues added that the GoS conducted operations in
four areas throughout Darfur within the last week: Abu Dangal,
Meidob, Jebel Adoula, and North of Kutum. These SLM/MM
representatives also claimed that the GoS has deployed troops South
of Nyala to Gereida, and maintained that the GoS is conducting oil
exploration in the area.

5. (SBU) Salim said that the security arrangement following the
September 19 Minnawi-Taha agreement has failed. Contrary to the
latter agreement the Gos and SLM/MM have not informed each other of
their military movements, the GoS has not paid compensation to
SLM/MM for its attacks in September, and the GoS has certainly not
restricted its flights over SLM/MM areas. These contacts stated
that the situation in Darfur has grown worse since President
Bashir's announcement of a unilateral ceasefire. "The NCP is
playing for time right now - there is no change politically and the
Minnawi-Taha El-Fasher agreement has failed just like the DPA,"
stated Salim.

6. (SBU) In developments along the strategic El Fasher-Malha road,
Suleiman Marjan, a rebel commander recently aligned with
SLA/AbdulWahid, and Abdalla Banda confirmed that although they have
spotted SAF Antonov planes flying over the area in the last several
days, there have been no attacks on villages or rebel encampments in
the area. As part of a larger SAF push in the region northeast of
El Fasher, Marjan said that the SAF have consolidated their control
over Malha, using it as a base to supply troops and venturing
further into rebel-held territory in North Darfur. This rebel-held
strip in the particularly barren North serves as a strategic jumping
off points for possible future rebel raids into the Nile Valley and
Kordofan.

7. (SBU) COMMENT: Although many of the details remain unclear and
the stories between SLM/MM's Younis and Salim do not exactly
correspond, it is significant that SLM/MM contacts admitted to an
SLM/MM attack on a GoS force. If true, this would be the most
direct engagement between SLM/MM and the GoS since the September
agreement between Minnawi and Vice President Taha. It also shows
that SLM/MM continues to ally itself with non-signatory rebel groups
making common cause against regime targets. These events, the

KHARTOUM 00001707 002 OF 002


competing versions of what actually happened, and UNAMID's inability
to confirm their details, prove once more the need for an interim
mechanism for monitoring and reporting violence in Darfur but also
underscore the challenge such a mechanism will face: it could well
uncover numerous instances of rebel instigated violence and outright
banditry. END COMMENT.

FERNANDEZ

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