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Cablegate: Chadian Rebels Test-Fire Newly Received Heavy Weapons

VZCZCXRO6581
OO RUEHROV RUEHTRO
DE RUEHKH #0130 0250825
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O R 250824Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0058
INFO IGAD COLLECTIVE
UN SECURITY COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS KHARTOUM 000130

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 CD
SUBJECT: CHADIAN REBELS TEST-FIRE NEWLY RECEIVED HEAVY WEAPONS
OUTSIDE MELLIT

REF: 10 KHARTOUM 73; 10 NDJAMENA 35; 10 NDJAMENA 29

1. (SBU) Summary: Chadian rebels test-fired newly received heavy
weapons outside the area of Mellit on January 22, according to both
UN and rebel sources. No details have emerged where the weapons
came from. The incident comes less than two weeks after Chad and
Sudan signed agreements to end all support for armed rebel groups
in their territories. The security situation in Mellit is otherwise
reported to be calm. End Summary.

2. (SBU) On January 22, UNAMID reported that at approximately
10:15am, there was heavy firing of weapons west of Mellit
(approximately 65 kilometers north of El Fasher). A UNAMID patrol
team seeking to investigate interacted with a local GOS military
commander, who told the patrol that the Chadian rebels had received
new heavy weapons and had been granted permission by the GOS to
test-fire them outside of Mellit. It remains unclear where the
weapons came from, though one UN Officer told poloff that he
believed they were provided by the GOS. "In my opinion, that's the
only way they could have got them," he said.

3. (SBU) SLA/AW Commander Suleiman Marajan, who maintains a
presence north of Mellit, told emboff that Chadian rebels had been
test-firing heavy weaponry northwest of Mellit for several days
beginning on January 20, terrifying local villagers in the process.
He alleged that the weapons included 106mm mortars and 107mm
multi-barrel rocket launchers, which he claimed were supplied by
the GOS. He did not speculate on whether the Chadian rebels would
remain in Mellit or where they would use their newly acquired
firepower.

4. (SBU) UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) Officer told
poloff on January 23 that most Chadian rebels have since moved out
of Mellit town in a southward direction. Their exact location is
unknown, but rumors are circulating that they are heading west
towards Northern Kordofan, he said. He further predicted that
trouble would follow wherever they go, noting that "anywhere they
set foot, they rape, pillage and cause mayhem... I seriously think
that any attempt by the GOS to demobilize them would end in a
fight."

5. (SBU) Comment: How the GOS handles the Chadian rebels in Sudan
will test its sincerity and ability to implement January 15
Ndjamena Agreement (reftels), especially following the reported
rearmament of the Chadian rebels. A lack of coordination between
Khartoum politicians and local elements of the GOS military and
security apparatus may be to blame, or possibly the Chadians
acquired the weapons from some source other than the GOS. The
prospects for disarmament and demobilization of the rebel force are
uncertain, however, and one cannot ignore Chad and Sudan's history
of past failed agreements.
WHITEHEAD

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