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Cablegate: Authority Void in Eastern Car Dragging in Neighbors

VZCZCXRO8334
PP RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHGI #0186 2331508
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P R 211508Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY BANGUI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1015
INFO RHMFISS/AFRICOM
RUEHBZ/AMEMBASSY BRAZZAVILLE 0195
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 0114
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 0300
RUEHKI/AMEMBASSY KINSHASA 0311
RUEHLC/AMEMBASSY LIBREVILLE 0210
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 0154
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 0150
RUEHNJ/AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA 0500
RHEHAAA/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS 0485
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 0141
RUEHYD/AMEMBASSY YAOUNDE 0472
RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUEHGI/AMEMBASSY BANGUI 1279

UNCLAS BANGUI 000186

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/C
USUN FOR DMUERS
PARIS FOR RKANEDA
LONDON FOR PLORD
NAIROBI FOR AKARAS
AFRICOM FOR JKUGEL
INR FOR CNEARY
DRL FOR SCRAMPTON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PHUM PINR CT SU UG
SUBJECT: AUTHORITY VOID IN EASTERN CAR DRAGGING IN NEIGHBORS

REF: A - 09 BANGUI 152 AND PREVIOUS

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The east of the Central African Republic (CAR)
has long been home to a mix of Central African, Sudanese and
Chadian pastoralists who have existed more or less out of the
purview of their respective capitals. Recently, however, it has
become an area overrun by poachers, brigands and rebels due to
an almost complete lack of CAR government (CARG) presence and
tribal competition over diamond mines (Ref A). Incursion into
southeastern CAR by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and the
violence between cross-border ethnicities in the northeast are
increasingly dragging Sudan and Uganda into the CAR's internal
problems. The growing involvement of the Sudanese and Ugandans
has also led to some speculation that they are maneuvering to
gain influence in the region before the 2011 referendum on
independence in Southern Sudan. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) During a recent meeting with the European Commission's
military affairs advisor to President Bozize, DCM and POLOFF
discussed the Central African Army's (FACA) role in the efforts
against the LRA. Unhappy about the lack of coordination between
the Ugandan Army (UPDF) and the FACA, the advisor mentioned that
the UPDF elements operating in the CAR had their forward
operating base in Southern Sudan rather than the CAR. He was
firmly convinced that they were using the pursuit into the CAR
of the LRA as a way make their presence in Southern Sudan a fait
accompli in the lead up to 2011.

3. (SBU) Similarly, the government in Khartoum is taking an
increased interest in the conflict in the Vakaga. The Vakaga has
long been home to border crossing pastoralist and there is
almost no formal delineation between the CAR and Sudan. The
diamond-rich Vakaga looks to Sudan for most of its economic
activity, and the violence of recent months has caught the
attention of the government in Khartoum. A recent peace
initiative signed between the warring Kara and Goula in Birao
contained a telling clause: ``in conjunction with the delegation
from the Ta'asha of Um-Dafok designated by the Sudanese
Government (GOS) . . . we. . . accept the peace pact [of July
15, 2009].''

4. (SBU) Post has previously reported that Ta'asha (ethnic
cousins of the Kara) took part in the June 21, 2009 fighting,
but there was no evidence until mid-July that the GOS was
formally recognizing their role and acting on their behalf. It
should be noted that the GOS may be seeking simply to protect
its citizen's economic interest in the Vakaga. However, when we
asked Special Representative to the Secretary General for Chad
and CAR (SRSG) Victor Angelo (protect) about this clause, he
affirmed that there was increasing evidence of involvement by
the GOS in the Vakaga. He put forth that the GOS is worried
about the ungoverned space in the CAR as it could provide a
haven from which anti-regime elements might base themselves in
preparation for potential conflict in 2011. By supporting a
proxy militia like the Kara (UMDR - Union of the Democratic
Movement for Unity), the GOS may be hoping to limit their
exposure to a threat from their Southeast. President Bashir
knows all too well that the chaotic Chad-CAR has caused
headaches for President Deby.

5. (SBU) COMMENT: The governments of Sudan and Uganda have
discerned correctly that the CARG cannot secure its eastern
expanses. Facing a multitude of problems closer to Bangui,
Bozize often finds the Vakaga and other prefectures simply too
distant to prioritize. Therefore, the sparsely populated eastern
portion of the country poses a risk to the government in
Khartoum and Kampala. As of now, no elements of the Southern
Sudanese Army (SPLA) have joined the Ugandans in the CAR but if
they do, it would certainly raise a red flag. END COMMENT.

COOK

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