Viewing cable 05NDJAMENA835

05NDJAMENA8352005-05-24 06:53:00 2011-08-30 01:44:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Ndjamena
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

240653Z May 05

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C O N F I D E N T I A L  NDJAMENA 000835 
E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/20/2015 
     ¶B. NDJAMENA 834 
     ¶C. NDJAMENA 742 
     ¶D. NDJAMENA 740 
Classified By: Political/Economic Officer Kathleen FitzGibbon for reaso 
ns 1.4 (b) and (d). 
¶1.  (C) Summary: Bureau for Population, Migration, and 
Refugees Officers Margaret McKelvey and Hazel Reitz traveled 
to Chad from May 4 to 18 to conduct a periodic review of 
protection and assistance efforts in eastern Chad.  This is 
the third of three cables from the visit.  (Refs A and B). 
Some humanitarian assistance projects for local Chadian 
populations are now beginning, but the approaching rainy 
season is likely to constrain these efforts.  Donors also 
need to consider assisting Chadians being displaced by 
cross-border attacks by jandjaweed and bandit groups.  ICRC 
recently provided non-food items to 4,000 Chadians near Goz 
Beida.  Given the recent violence in the camps, the civilian 
nature and neutrality of the camps is an increasingly 
important issue that has implications for Chad's willingness 
to host the Sudanese refugees.  UNHCR's Director for 
Operations in Chad and Sudan Jean-Marie Fahkouri visited on 
May 17 to meet with Chadian officials, including President 
Deby, about UNHCR's operations the recent violence in the 
camps.  Embassy, UNHCR, and PRM officials urged the rebel 
movements to maintain the civilian nature of the refugee 
camps.  End Summary. 
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¶2.  (C) Chadian President Idriss Deby lambasted UNHCR/Sudan's 
Director of Operations for Sudan and Chad Jean-Marie Fahkouri 
for creating a burden on the Chadian people and doing nothing 
to address it during a meeting on May 17.   Deby told 
Fahkouri that UNHCR was responsible for discontent among the 
local people.  (Comment: After the meeting, Fahkouri told us 
that Deby had not been properly briefed or that his ill-humor 
stemmed from his feeling of vulnerability.  End Comment.) 
During a meeting with Ambassador Wall, P/E Officer, and PRM 
TDYers, Fahkouri attributed the refugee camp violence as 
symptoms of a not unexpected deterioration of the situation. 
Refugees had completed the first two phases of being a 
refugee: the first being their flight from Darfur and the 
second being the transfer to refugee camps for protection and 
assistance.  Fahkouri noted that the refugees are now in 
phase three: where they see no light at the end of the tunnel 
and they become more militant in an attempt to regain what 
they have lost.  These psychological stages need to be kept 
in mind. 
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¶3.  (C) Deby's message is not new.  In eastern Chad, the 
Sudanese refugees outnumber the local population at least 2 
to 1 and in some places the ratio is greater.  After 
absorbing the initial wave of refugees, many of whom were 
family members, the host population exhausted its meager 
resources.  Now, the large concentration of refugees has 
taxed the extremely fragile environment, particularly water 
and firewood resources, to the breaking point.  The 
deteriorating circumstances of the local population has 
spurred calls for material assistance for Chadians in the 
refugee zone.  Although just beginning, more assistance is in 
the budgeting process, and more is needed.  However, the 
rapidly approaching rainy season will limit its delivery. As 
reported in refs C and D, visiting Senator Corzine (D-NJ) 
viewed first-hand the need to assist Chad. 
¶4.  (U) UNHCR has begun some 53 generally small-scale 
projects amounting to a total value of some $3 million to 
assist local Chadians; about half have been completed.  The 
completed activities range from distribution of seeds and 
tools to rehabilitation of wells to animal vaccinations to 
repair of vehicles for the local authorities.  A handful were 
specifically funded by bilateral donors such as ECHO, DFID, 
and AUSAID; most are being done by existing implementing 
partners (i.e., no significant additional overhead) with 
funds contributed to UNHCR. IRC-procured equipment for the 
local referral hospital at Bahai and IMC support for the 
Guereda Hospital are in train.  USAID/OFDA support for UNICEF 
resulted in the opening of offices in Goz Beida and in Iriba 
that will deal with assistance to Chadians once they are up 
and running.  Reitz and McKelvey confirmed with UNICEF in 
Abeche and N'Djamena that almost all of UNICEF's efforts this 
year in water and sanitation will be focused on affected 
Chadians, not on refugees as they were over the last twelve 
months.  WFP has committed to doing food for work projects, 
has done some, and has food available but is suffering from 
both a lack of implementing partners and a lack of staff time 
to work on development and management of FFWs. 
¶5.  (U) Some of the local frustration is the result of the 
benefits and the disadvantages of the international presence 
not accruing equally to the same people. For example, WFP's 
N'Djamena representative Stefano Poretti reports that WFP has 
had no trouble getting Chadian trucks to respond to WFP's 
calls for contracts.  In contrast, the Libyan trucks sought 
were not/not materializing.  Meanwhile, a local businessman 
reported to Embassy officer that the WFP and oil companies 
demand for trucks is pulling in all of the available trucks 
and leaving nothing reasonable for local business to use in 
moving its product. 
¶6.  (C) The French military could be another interesting 
potential source of funding for the local populations, even 
if only 20,000 Euros according to UNHCR/Abeche.  PRM TYDers 
met with the head of a three-person team of the Actions 
Civilo-militaires unit.  This is a force of 96 from among the 
various branches of the French armed forces, including 
gendarmes, that has existed since 2001.  Captain (Navy air) 
Nathalie Fave's stated mission is to travel the border areas, 
ferret out information on current and potential local 
conflicts (including between refugees and locals), and 
undertake micro-projects to help ease those tensions. 
(Comment.  A tall order for an assignment that lasts only 
four months, as do the deployments of all of the French 
troops at Camp Croci in Abeche.  End comment.)  Fave did 
similar work in Afghanistan and Cote d'Ivoire and had been in 
Chad last year to direct the French airlift in support of 
refugees.  She is one (and the only female) of 13 officers at 
the base, she said. 
¶7.  (SBU) Unfortunately, in mounting programs for affected 
Chadians, most humanitarian players will conduct rapid, 
one-off activities.  The humanitarian system cannot generally 
address the development needs of Chad and yet those needs are 
likely to endure just as long as the refugees' need for 
life-supporting assistance.  As a result, the issue of 
affected Chadians will remain.  In addition, 
internally-displaced Chadians are also a new factor to 
consider for assistance. 
¶8.  (SBU) Recommendations:  Depending on the planning horizon 
selected, it might make sense for WFP to consider augmenting 
the local fleet of trucks.  WFP might usefully do a 
cost/benefit analysis with several different assumptions. 
UNHCR should make every effort to enlist other elements of 
the UN family in addressing needs of Chadians, including 
those affected in some precise way by refugees and those 
whose desperate poverty has been more visible now that the 
international community has arrived in force to assist the 
refugees, driving local rents and food prices out of reach of 
most Chadians.  If USAID/OFDA can get its projects for 
affected Chadians up and running to some extent before the 
rains, that would be another opportunity to assuage the GOC's 
claims that the international community is not doing enough 
for the Chadians. 
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¶9.  (U) The first internally-displaced Chadians to be 
identified as victims of spillover of the Darfur conflict are 
to be assisted on a one-off basis by the International 
Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).  Contingency planning 
should include the possibility of more such displacements. 
According to ICRC surveys the week of May 1, a total of some 
4,000 Chadians have been displaced in the Ade area (near the 
border, northeast of Goz Beida) due to a number of attacks 
from unidentified Sudanese, either GOS-inspired jandjaweed or 
ordinary bandits.  The GOC has deployed troops and maintains 
that the area is safe enough for people to return to their 
homes within Chad.  However, the people are still too scared 
to go home. 
¶10.  (C) Two Belgian journalists visiting border villages in 
the Adre area (which is further to the north), told PRM 
TDYers on May 15 that Chadian villagers reported attacks from 
the Sudan side of the border every few days with loss of 
animals. The attackers are either jandjaweed or bandits, 
according to the villagers.  ICRC considered a one-time 
distribution of food (small quantities, not a systematic 
ration as recommended by the ICRC field staff) and non-food 
items to the Ade area IDPs.  The IDPs are destitute and the 
rains are coming, but ICRC ultimately decided to only 
distribute the non-food items, according to ICRC/N'Djamena 
director Thierry Ribaux.  The distribution was conducted on 
May 13. 
¶11.  (SBU) ICRC is leery of anchoring the IDPs outside of 
their homes and will re-evaluate later whether any ongoing 
assistance would be necessary. (Comment:  ICRC is reinforcing 
its presence/program in Chad, and has 13 internationals at 
present, which would be helpful if displacement of Chadians 
becomes more widespread and the international community 
becomes seized with what agency should be charged with 
addressing the needs of IDPs.  End Comment.)  PRM TDYers 
spoke with ICRC about the potential for a budget extension. 
In ICRC's set-up, the field staff do not have to get involved 
in budgetary questions to any great degree beyond signaling 
needs.  It is not yet clear whether the increased needs will 
surpass the 10 percent "borrowing authority" available to 
ICRC.  Note that the Chad delegation is now a stand-alone one 
(since January 2005) with a separate budget from that of 
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¶12.  (C)  The issue of the humanitarian nature and neutrality 
of the refugee camps continues to bedevil UNHCR.  In a 
meeting with Fahkouri on May 17, UNHCR officials, PRM TDYers, 
and embassy officials, Sudanese Liberation Movement and 
Justice and Equality Movement members admitted that they 
visit their families who are in the refugee camps.  However, 
they claim their members are told to leave their weapons at 
their bases prior to traveling.  Rebel leaders must obtain 
permission from the Chadian Minister of Public Security in 
order to visit the camps.  The N'Djamena-based leaders have 
respected this regulation.  Lower-ranking members do not need 
permission.  UNHCR urged the SLM and JEM to be diligent about 
notifying Chadian authorities. 
¶13.  (C)  The violence in the camps on May 9 and 10 is 
indicative of the high level of frustration and the 
vulnerability of the refugees to manipulation.  The 
precipitating events for the violence at Goz Amer and the 
Touloum, Iridimi, Mile, and Kounoungou camps over 
re-registration and food distribution were unrelated. 
However, their may be a common factor.  Rumors continue to 
circulate that these types of events are being stirred up by 
Sudanese agents provocateurs in the camps.  The alleged 
Sudanese agents reportedly want to stir up enough trouble to 
convince local authorities that the refugees should not be 
allowed to remain in Chad.  A return of some refugees to 
Sudan would bolster the GOS's claims that the situation in 
Darfur is improving, according to Fahkouri. 
¶14.  (C)  The civilian nature of the camps will continue to 
be problematic.  Embassy, PRM, and UNHCR officers all made 
strong representations to the SLM and JEM representatives to 
keep the camps free of military influence.  In addition, the 
rebel movement members were urged to persuade the refugees in 
Touloum to sign a letter of apology and to permit resumption 
of all services.  (Note: In negotiations with the refugees in 
the aftermath of the violence. local authorities requested 
the refugee leaders to sign a letter recognizing the 
authority of the Chadian authorities to maintain order and to 
apologize for the attacks on the gendarmes and humanitarian 
workers.  The leaders at Iridimi agreed to sign the letter. 
Touloum camp remains the only hold-out.  End Comment.) 
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¶15.  (C) President Deby's lashing out at Fahkouri is 
indicative of his growing frustration with deleterious impact 
of the refugee crisis on the local population and Chad's 
security.  The recent violence highlighted the need for a 
better understanding of the refugee camp leaders and the 
forces influencing them.  Chadian officials miss no 
opportunity to highlight the plight of the host population, 
which has borne an incredible burden.  We note, however, the 
presence of the Sudanese refugees also represents an 
opportunity for Chad to address and to get donor support for 
meeting the needs of its own neglected population.  Chad 
already is starting to benefit from the infusion of external 
project funds to ameliorate the situation, but Chadian 
officials also need to assure the sustainability of these 
projects over the long-term when the crisis ends. 
¶16.  (U) Khartoum and Tripoli Minimize Considered.