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Cablegate: Irish Ngo Aid Workers Freed in Darfur; Two Un Hostages

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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKH #1173 2911454
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 181454Z OCT 09
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4584
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC 0053
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC 0094
INFO RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 0469
RUEHDL/AMEMBASSY DUBLIN 0013
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 0114
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 0262

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001173

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR S/USSES, AF, EUR, M, DS, S/ES-O/CMS, INR, AND CA
NSC FOR MGAVIN, LETIM
DEPT PLS PASS USAID FOR AFR/SUDAN
ADDIS ABABA ALSO FOR USAU
CAIRO FOR LEGATT

POSTS FOR RSO, POL, AND LEGAT

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC PTER PGOV CASC SU
SUBJECT: IRISH NGO AID WORKERS FREED IN DARFUR; TWO UN HOSTAGES
STILL HELD IN CAPTIVITY

REF: A) Khartoum 1040; 09/10/09
B) Khartoum 1024; 09/04/09
C) Khartoum 994; 08/30/09
D) Khartoum 894; 08/04/09

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: Sudanese authorities confirmed that two female
aid workers who work for GOAL, an Irish non-governmental
organization (NGO), were released early Sunday morning, October 18,
after being held captive for 108 days. The two hostages, Irish
national Sharon Cummins and Ugandan citizen Hilda Kawuki, were
kidnapped on July 3 when armed gunmen invaded the GOAL compound in
Kutum, North Darfur. The Government of Sudan (GOS) informed the
Embassy privately, and stated publicly, that no ransom was paid for
their release. United Nations Department of Safety and Security
(UNDSS) officers did not have any additional details, but reported
the negotiated release of the GOAL hostages has not affected the
status or conditions for two UNAMID civilian employees held captive
since the August 30 armed invasion of their compound in Zalingei,
West Darfur. END SUMMARY.

2. (SBU) Sudan's State Minister for Humanitarian Affairs, Abdel
Baqi Al Jalani announced that GOAL aid workers, Irish national
Sharon Cummins and Ugandan citizen Hilda Kawuki, had been released
by their captors in the early morning hours on October 18. The two
were kidnapped on July 3 when armed gunmen invaded the GOAL compound
in Kutum, North Darfur. Al Jalani had been the chief negotiator for
the Government of Sudan since the ordeal began 108 days ago. Al
Jalani is expected to represent GOS at an Khartoum airport press
conference with the hostages as soon as they arrive on October 18.


3. (SBU) The Irish Honorary Consul informed the DCM that the two
women were tired but appeared to be in good condition. The hostages
were due to be returned in a private aircraft to Khartoum later in
the day on October 18. He stated no ransom had been paid for the
hostages' release. The DCM reaffirmed the Embassy's past offer of
medical assistance if needed.

4. (SBU) Senior Presidential Advisor Dr. Ghazi Salah Edeen told the
CDA that those responsible for the release were actually tribal
leaders of those who organized the kidnapping. He said GOS had made
it clear to the tribal leaders that this act would not go unpunished
if it were not resolved. The tribal leaders subsequently leaned on
the kidnappers to let the women go. Ghazi confirmed previous
reports from Al Jalani and the Irish that no ransom was paid.

5. (SBU) United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID)
contacts informed the RSO that the negotiations for the release of
the GOAL hostages has not had any impact on the status of the two UN
civilian employees who were also kidnapped during an armed invasion
of their compound in Zalingei, West Darfur on August 30. According
to a report provided to the RSO by a UN contact, the March 11
kidnapping of three Medicins Sans Frontiers (MSF) western expatriate
workers, the April 4 kidnapping of a Canadian and French Assistance
Medicale International (AMI) staff, and the July 3 GOAL kidnapping
were all carried out by members of the Mahamid tribe, whereas the
August 30 UN kidnappers allegedly are members of the Iraygat tribe.
The UN report indicates that both the Mahamid and Iraygat belong to
the broad, "Northern Rizaygat" tribe.

6. (SBU) Post will continue to monitor the status of the UNAMID
hostage taking incident and will follow-up with the Irish and
Ugandans for any information gathered from the two hostages just
released. Updates will be sent via septel.

WHITEHEAD

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