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Cablegate: Minister of Agriculture Shot While Registering in His Home

VZCZCXRO9174
OO RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #1285 3201403
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 161403Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4741
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHGG/UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 001285

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

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINS ASEC SU
SUBJECT: MINISTER OF AGRICULTURE SHOT WHILE REGISTERING IN HIS HOME
CONSTITUENCY

1. (SBU) Summary: On November 15, the Minister of Agriculture
Samson Kwaje was shot while traveling to his home constituency in
Juba County, Central Equatoria, to register. Kwaje was traveling in
a six car convoy which was ambushed in the early evening on the
Lainya-Jambo road. The reason for the attack is still unclear.
Kwaje was shot in the upper arm and is being medevaced to Nairobi
today, November 16. End Summary.

2. (SBU) While traveling in a six car convoy along the Lainya-Jambo
road in Central Equatoria on November 15, the Minister of
Agriculture Samson Kwaje's convoy was ambushed, explained
Undersecretary for Presidential Affairs Cirino Hiteng Ofuho. Cirino
told us that the attackers aim was to assassinate Kwaje. The attack
happened in the early evening hours in a remote area. The
assailants blocked the road in front of and behind the convoy in
what is reported to be a very organized attack. The assailants open
fired on the convoy, shooting Kwaje in the upper arm, critically
wounding his body guard and killing five others in the group. The
number of dead and wounded suffered by the assailants is not known.


3. (SBU) The United Nations (UN) and Sudan People's Liberation Army
(SPLA) were both contacted during the evening of November 15, but
due to the late hour and location neither were able to reach Kwaje's
group until November 16. Some reports claim that the SPLA were
blocked from getting to Kwaje by others involved in the attack.
However, UN Humanitarian Coordinator Lise Grande told us the UN sent
a helicopter to airlift Kwaje and the wounded from the incident and
transported them to Juba. Kwaje will depart Juba on the November 16
Jetlink flight to Nairobi for additional treatment.

4. (SBU) Circumstances around the incident are still not clear.
Cirino told us that the attack is connected to local tribal issues.
Others believe the attack has to do with local political issues
surrounding the changing of constituency borders within Juba County,
Central Equatoria.

5. (SBU) Comment: Although motives for the attack are as yet
unclear, it took place under circumstances closely related to the
election, against a very senior GoSS official. Even if the attack
arose solely from local tribal issues, it reflects a spread of
tribal violence into a new area of Southern Sudan. End Comment.

WHITEHEAD

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