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Cablegate: Niger: Rebel Faction Resignations

VZCZCXRO0835
RR RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHNM #1171 3541031
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 191031Z DEC 08
FM AMEMBASSY NIAMEY
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4769
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE
RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS 3470
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0765
RUEHTRO/AMEMBASSY TRIPOLI
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

UNCLAS NIAMEY 001171

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

STATE FOR AF/RSA AND AF/W, INR/AA

PARIS FOR AF WATCHER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PINR PREL MOPS NG
SUBJECT: NIGER: REBEL FACTION RESIGNATIONS

REF: Niamey 572

1. (SBU) Recent resignations of seven leaders within the
predominantly Tuareg rebel movement Front des Forces de Redressement
(FFR) suggest a schism within the FFR element that broke off from
the Mouvement des Nigeriens pour la Justice (MNJ) in May 2008
(reftel). The resignations follow two conflicting FFR statements
about the December 14 disappearances of United Nations Special Envoy
Robert Fowler, Special Assistant Louis Guay and Nigerien driver
Soumana Mounkaila.

2. (UN) The seven leaders as reported on the FFR blog include:
Ahmed Ag GHAMIR DAYAK, Youth Arts and Culture Commissioner; Ibrahim
Ag AMOUMOUNE HAMID, Mines, Energy and Environment Commissioner ;
Ghoumar Ag WAMALANE dit Akli, Front Leader in France; Alhousseini Ag
IBRA dit Houch, Front Leader for Austria, Germany, Hungary and
Russia; Ahayo Ag ABOUBACAR, Front Leader for Belgium, The
Netherlands and Luxembourg (BENELUX; Alhousseini Ag SIDI, Front
Leader in Great Britain; and Aghali AG ABOUBACAR, Front Leader in
Italy and Malta.

3. (SBU) The FFR came into being in May 2008 after a schism within
the Mouvement Nigerien pour la Justice (MNJ), following a Nigerien
army offensive that reportedly dealt a heavy blow to MNJ. It
commenced as a small group of approximately 200 people and is not
known to have expanded beyond that number. FFR is not known to have
used its limited resources to conduct any conduct any operations
against Nigerien government troops, officials or property; it has to
date focused attention to public relations.

4. (U) The Government of Niger issued an international warrant for
arrest against Rhissa (who is the ex officio leader of the FFR),
following his declaration of the "uranium war" in January 2008. In
addition, the Niamey Court of Appeals sentenced him to death in
absentia in July 2008 in connection with the 2004 killing of a local
political leader in Tchirozerine. Rhissa is reported to be hiding
in Libya.

5. (SBU) It is possible the disagreements within both the MNJ and
the FFR, together with Rhissa's predicament, may have contributed to
the massive resignations and may possibly lead to the group's
dissolution.

6. (U) Tripoli minimize considered.

ALLEN

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