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Cablegate: Sla/Aw Infighting Continues; Rebels Fail to Take Golo

VZCZCXRO2634
OO RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #0102/01 0200737
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O R 200735Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0036
INFO IGAD COLLECTIVE
UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 000102

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

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MOPS PHUM PINR ASEC SU
SUBJECT: SLA/AW INFIGHTING CONTINUES; REBELS FAIL TO TAKE GOLO

REF: KHARTOUM 64

1. (SBU) Summary: The January 5 killing of Sudan Liberation
Army/Abdul Wahid (SLA/AW) faction Commander Abdalla Bakr (reftel)
has led to sporadic infighting within the movement, according to
unconfirmed reports out of Jebel Marra. Meanwhile, elements of the
SLA/AW faction attacked the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) in Golo on
January 13 but failed to capture the town, according to UN and
rebel sources. Offices of the Danish Refugee Council in Golo were
looted during the hostilities. UNAMID has appealed to the
conflicting parties to allow an investigative patrol team to visit
the area. Meanwhile in North Darfur, a SAF force allegedly
attacked a Fur village east of Ain Siro, killing civilians and
looting property. The motive of the attack is unknown. End
Summary.

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KILLING SPARKS INFIGHTING AMONG SLA/AW

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

2. (SBU) The killing of SLA/AW Commander Abdalla Bakr on January 5
(reftel) has resulted in sporadic infighting within the movement,
according to unconfirmed reports out of Jebel Marra. UNAMID
received information that on January 12, a group loyal to SLA
Chairman Abdul Wahid Al Nur attacked the position of soldiers
aligned with SLA/AW General Commander Gaddura in Kuturun,
approximately 15 km east of Nertiti. The resulting clash is said
to have resulted in one dead and four wounded.

3. (SBU) Speaking to emboff on January 13, SLA/AW Commander Hassan
Yousif addressed the source of tension within SLA/AW. He asserted
that like the deceased Abdalla Bakr, most SLA/AW commanders are in
favor of rebel unification efforts supported by U.S. Special Envoy
to Sudan (SE) Scott Gration, as well greater engagement with the
international community. Those who oppose these efforts are
largely relatives of SLA/AW Chairman Abdul Wahid Al Nur and
constitute a minority, he said. He urged renewed pressure on the
Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) to release detained SLA/AW
Chief of Staff Yousif Ahmed Yousif, known as Karjakola. (Note:
Several other SLA/AW Commanders, including Suleiman Marajan and
Musa Morni, also urged the release of Karjakola. End Note.)

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

SLA/AW ATTACKS SAF IN GOLO, FAILS TO CAPTURE TOWN

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

4. (SBU) On January 13, SLM/AW forces led by Ezhak Qui, an SLA/AW
Commander loyal to Abdel Wahid, attacked the Sudan Armed Forces
(SAF) in Golo (60 km northeast of Nertiti), according to UN and
rebel sources. Government of Sudan (GoS) Antonov aircraft later
bombarded the vicinity of Golo, and the fighting reportedly
subsided in the afternoon. No details on casualties or
displacement have emerged, though on January14 UNAMID Spokesman
Noureddine Mezni appealed to the conflicting parties to allow a
UNAMID investigative patrol team to the area.

5. (SBU) While it appears that SLA/AW forces may have pushed the
SAF out of Golo for a short period on January 13, conflicting
information has emerged as to whether they successfully captured
the town. Speaking to emboff via satellite phone on January 15,
SLA/AW Commander Osman Yousif claimed that his movement still
maintained a presence in Golo, despite SAF aerial bombardment. Yet
SLA/AW Commander Hassan Yousif dismissed such claims. He told
emboff that the SAF retained control of Golo, despite attempts by
elements of SLA/AW to attack the SAF garrison there.

KHARTOUM 00000102 002 OF 002


6. (SBU) During the hostilities in Golo on January 13, a group of
armed men broke into the office of the Danish Refugee Council (DRC)
and stole the DRC's sole vehicle, as well as their satellite phones
and office equipment, according to the UN Department of Safety and
Security (UNDSS). GoS police visited the office of the DRC shortly
thereafter, and assured them the attack by SLA/AW had been repulsed
and that a temporary calm had been restored. On January 13-14,
approximately 30 SAF vehicles with armed personnel on board were
seen leaving Geneina toward East Jebel Marra, according to UN
sources, presumably to provide reinforcement for Golo. SLA/AW
Commander Osman Yousif also told emboff that SAF troops were
gathering in Khor Ramala, coming from the direction of Geneina, as
well as in Malam.

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

SAF ATTACKS FUR VILLAGE IN NORTH DARFUR

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

7. (SBU) Rebel sources reported that on January 15, a SAF force
comprised of nine vehicles attacked the area of Furug, a primarily
Fur village east of Ain Siro. The attack was said to be organized
by an Arab SAF Commander, Lt. Col. Abdel Elah Bango, and reportedly
resulted in the death of over a dozen civilians with many more
injured. Numerous camels and donkeys were also said to be killed or
taken. The motive of the attack is not known. According to UNDSS,
on January 16 three NGO staff members on their way from Ain Siro to
Kutum were detained in Mastria (27 km North of Kutum) by SLA/AW
forces, allegedly for protective reasons as a result of the
fighting in Furug. When contacted, the local SLA/AW commander
stated the staff will be released no later than January 19.

8. (SBU) Comment: SLA/AW has traditionally held purely defensive
positions in Jebel Marra, making the attack on Golo somewhat of a
surprise. SLA/AW is said to be weak in military and logistical
equipment, so the attack may have been motivated by material gain;
the looting of NGO offices in Golo would seem to support this
premise. The Golo attack is also the final nail in the coffin for
the oft-violated 2004 N'Djamena Ceasefire Agreement; prior to this
attack, SLA/AW is the only party which could conceivably claim to
be honoring it. As for the reported SAF attack near Ain Siro, if
true, it may have been carried out in retaliation for SLA/AW
aggression in Golo. End Comment.
WHITEHEAD

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