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Cablegate: Civilian Protection Against Lra Attacks in Southern Sudan

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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKH #1019 2461125
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 031125Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4364
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001019

NSC FOR MGAVIN, LETIM
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PINS MOPS UG SU
SUBJECT: Civilian Protection Against LRA Attacks in Southern Sudan

REFTEL: STATE 87508

1. (SBU) Summary: In response to Reftel, PolOff met with Minister of
Interior Gier Cuang Aluong, SPLA Chief of Staff Major General James
Hoth and UNMIS officials to assess the SPLA, UNMIS and Uganda
People's Defense Forces (UPDF) response capacity to Lord's
Republican Army (LRA) attacks in Western Equatoria, southern Sudan.
While Government of Southern Sudan (GOSS) officials stated there was
coordination between the SPLA and UPDF and UNMIS in the area, they
also recognized the limitations imposed by their current UN force
levels as well as their inability to pursue the LRA into the Central
African Republic (CAR) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo
(DRC). The SPLA's inability to guarantee protection to UN agencies
in the area has forced them to pull out of Ezo and to elevate area
threat levels to level IV, requiring UNMIS armed escort for any work
in the area. End Summary.

UN Withdraws from Ezo
--------------------

2. (U) During the weekly UNMIS security briefing, UN officials
reported that following LRA attacks in the area of Ezo, Western
Equatoria, that WFP had pulled out and UN agencies were now
operating out of Yambio. They explained that the SPLA and Western
Equatoria Governor Jemma Nunu Kumba had not been able to guarantee
security to UNMIS, thus forcing UNMIS to elevate security threat
levels to IV and to require UN armed escorts for operations in the
Ezo area. UNHCR is planning an assessment of the area this week and
will report back findings to the international community in Juba.

3. (SBU) In a candid discussion, UN Humanitarian Coordinator Lise
Grande explained that UNMIS peacekeepers need to do more to provide
civilian protection. Essentially she argued that UNMIS needs to
move from a "static" deployment to a "dynamic model," where
peacekeepers would undertake more patrols and act as a deterrent to
such attacks. While there is coordination between UNMIS and the
SPLA on the ground in the areas of Western Equatoria, she reported,
SPLA needs additional troops and UNMIS needs to start doing more
patrols in order to protect the civilian population and deter new
LRA attacks.

GOSS Plans Assessments and More SPLA Troops
-------------------------------------------

4. (SBU) Minister of Interior Gier Cuang Aluong told PolOff that he
had met with Ugandan officials in Kampala on August 25 regarding LRA
attacks and other issues. He explained that the GOSS and SPLA are
very concerned about recent attacks. However, they are also
frustrated because the SPLA has limited leeway in pursuing LRA over
the border into CAR and DRC. SPLA Spokesperson Major General Kuol
Dim reiterated this point and asked for international involvement in
the issue. He explained that there was coordination with the UPDF,
which has a unit located in Tambura, Western Equatoria, but that the
UPDF also does not have permission to pursue LRA units into DRC or
CAR. There was constant coordination with UNMIS in the area
through the joint military commission (JMC), he explained.

5. (SBU) Major General James Ajongo Mawut, SPLA Director of
Operations, expressed concern about the more than 21,000 refugees
and IDPs in the area, but stated it was the GOSS's responsibility to
protect its citizens in the area from LRA attacks. SPLA Chief of
Staff James Hoth explained that the SPLA plans to increase troops in
Western Equatoria to 6,000 troops, but believes Kone and the
majority of the LRA have pulled far away from the border into CAR
and DRC. Hoth stated that he would be sending the SPLA Deputy Chief
of Staff to the area with Gier to conduct an assessment. Gier
stated that the team would not return until the situation had been
resolved.

6. (SBU) Comment: Local response is still difficult to quantify but
PolOff hopes to obtain more information once UNMIS and GOSS have
completed their assessments. Although food deliveries and other
assistance are needed, UN or SPLA protection guarantees are still
not solid enough to make many organizations feel they can safely
work in the area until more troops are deployed, especially in the
Ezo, Tambura and Yambio areas. UNMIS willingness to increase mobile
and foot patrols would provide a greater deterrent to future LRA
attacks in the future.

WHITEHEAD

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