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Cablegate: Unamid to Be Granted Access to Korma in Wake of Attacks On

VZCZCXRO6166
OO RUEHGI RUEHMA RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #1095/01 2711729
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 281729Z SEP 09
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4473
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 001095

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

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MOPS PGOV PHUM PINR PREF KPKO AU SU
SUBJECT: UNAMID TO BE GRANTED ACCESS TO KORMA IN WAKE OF ATTACKS ON
SLA/AW

REF: KHARTOUM 1077

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The United Nations-African Union Mission in
Darfur (UNAMID) continues to be denied access to the town of Korma
following clashes between the Government of Sudan (GOS) and Sudan
Liberation Army/Abdul Wahid (SLA/AW) faction there on September
17-18. UNAMID's most recent attempt to visit Korma on September 24
was blocked by GOS authorities, who informed UNAMID that they were
conducting military operations in the general area. UNAMID
officials told poloffs the GOS has agreed to let them send a patrol
to Korma on September 29. Information on the humanitarian and
security situation in Korma is scattered and no verified data has
been gathered, but Fur tribal leaders in Khartoum told poloffs that
several dozen civilians were killed in the fighting, and over 6,000
families from Korma and surrounding villages have fled the area.
Korma is now occupied by Arab militia forces, according to UN and
rebel sources, while a large contingent of Chadian rebel troops has
encamped in Ana Bagi. The GOS military offensive in Korma and the
re-opening of the road between El Fasher and Kabkabiya have
effectively driven a wedge between SLA/AW's areas of control,
cutting off its Jebel Marra stronghold from positions further north
in Korma, Ain Siro, and in Jebel Eissa in the far north; in light of
the proposed SLA conference in East Jebel Marra later this month,
the actions seem aimed at preventing many rebels from attending.
END SUMMARY.

---------------------------------
UNAMID PATROL AGAIN DENIED ACCESS
---------------------------------

2. (SBU) On September 24, UNAMID sources reported that a
verification patrol (reftel) investigating the security and
humanitarian situation in Korma was stopped and denied entry into
Korma following clashes between the GOS and SLA/AW there on
September 17-18. The UNAMID patrol was stopped at a GOS military
check point about 500 meters from Korma. GOS authorities informed
UNAMID that they were conducting operations in the general area and
advised UNAMID to terminate the patrol. The patrol team observed GOS
helicopters flying at low level. The team also observed that the
village was deserted and some locals around Korma alleged that there
were incidents of looting, killing and rape during the attack.
UNAMID has not since attempted to send in another patrol to Korma,
but has received GOS acquiescence to send one on September 29.

------------------------------------
ARAB MILITIA OCCUPIES DESERTED KORMA
------------------------------------

3. (SBU) Given the lack of access, very limited information has
emerged on civilian casualties or displacements from GOS attacks on
Korma and the surrounding areas. UNAMID was unable to provide poloff
with any casualty numbers, and its Humanitarian Liaison Office (HLO)
reports that information from the humanitarian community is
scattered and no verified data has been gathered. Fur tribal leaders
based in Khartoum who spoke to Embassy contacts on the ground in
Korma asserted that 38 civilians were killed during the GOS action.
Abulgasim Seifeldin, a Darfuri Sudan people's Liberation Movement
(SPLM) parliamentarian and father-in-law to SLA/AW Chairman
Abdelwahid Al Nur, said that Korma has been emptied of people with
up to 6,000 families fleeing the town and its surrounding villages.
Ismail Musa, an SLA ally based in Khartoum, said the rebel fighters
had withdrawn from Korma with their families, ceding control of
Korma and its environs to the GOS. Musa said that the SLA/AW
fighters would not plan a counterattack to re-take Korma as they
were too weak and scattered to do so.

4. (SBU) On September 27, SLA/AW-aligned rebel commander Suleiman
Marjan told emboff that a force of 160 "Technicals" (Note: Pickup
trucks mounted with machine guns. End Note) belonging to
government-allied Arab militia and Chadian armed opposition groups
are now stationed in Korma. He further asserted that the GOS
military apparatus is also building up a large force in Mellit to
provide support for troops in Kutum, Korma and Fata Burno and
possibly launch new attacks on SLA areas. UN Security Officer Frazer
King confirmed to poloff the presence of Arab militia in Korma. He
stated that a number of persons displaced from the area have turned
up in Tawila and El Fasher, claiming that Arab militia forces raided
and looted villages around Korma. He affirmed that a UN patrol will
be granted access to Korma on September 29. Meanwhile, the Wali of
North Darfur Osman Mohamed Yousif Kibir visited Korma on September
26, according to El Fasher area television reports. He noted that
the GOS is working to enhance security in the area to enable IDPs to
return to their homes.

----------------------------------------

KHARTOUM 00001095 002 OF 002


POSSIBLE 1,000 CHADIAN TROOPS NEAR KUTUM
----------------------------------------

5. (SBU) Following UNAMID's observation of Chadian armed opposition
groups moving away from the border areas into North Darfur (septel),
UNDSS Officer King noted that there are believed to be over one
thousand Chadian armed opposition troops in the area northwest of
Kutum, centered around Ana Bagi. He stated that rumors are
circulating that given the heavy losses sustained by Chadian rebels
in their disastrous foray into Eastern Chad in May, the GOS has
provided them swathes of land in North Darfur on which to settle,
which has unnerved the local population. (NOTE: On Special Envoy
Gration's September 13 visit to Ain Siro in North Darfur, local
rebel commanders complained about the presence of Chadian rebels in
their area of control, to be reported septel. END NOTE.)

6. (SBU) El Fasher area contacts told emboff that a GOS military
officer, Major General Abdallah Daraj, was kidnapped by unknown
assailants on September 22. He was traveling from El Fasher on the
road to Nyala when he was abducted just east of Shangil Tobaya,
according to reports. The kidnappers allegedly contacted the
General's family on September 27 to demand a ransom. The North
Darfur government has urged the family to cooperate and has
apparently assured them it will pay the kidnappers the desired sum
for the General's release. This information could not be verified
through other sources.

7. (SBU) COMMENT: The attacks on Korma are significant in that they
represent the first targeting of SLA/AW positions by the GOS in
recent memory. Unlike the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) or the
remnants of SLA/Unity, the posture of SLA/AW is purely defensive,
and many SLA/AW commanders have also made agreements with Arab
tribes and militias within their vicinity to ensure peace and
stability. Now, the GOS military offensive in Korma and the
re-opening of the road between El Fasher and Kabkabiya have
effectively driven a wedge between SLA/AW's areas of control,
cutting off its Jebel Marra stronghold from positions further north
in Korma, Ain Siro, and in Jebel Eissa in the far north. In advance
of the proposed SLA conference in East Jebel Marra later this month,
such an action seems hardly coincidental, as would seem to prevent
many rebels from attending. Perhaps the GOS believes that as long as
the SLA/AW rebels remain weak and scattered, it can continue to
consolidate areas of control in North Darfur. But without peace
talks, a comprehensive solution for Darfur remains elusive.

ASQUINO

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