INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Inter-Ethnic Violence in Southeastern Chad:

Published: Wed 29 Nov 2006 02:47 PM
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RR RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHNJ #1376/01 3331447
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 291447Z NOV 06
FM AMEMBASSY NDJAMENA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4623
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 NDJAMENA 001376
SIPDIS
SENSITIVE
SIPDIS
DEPARTMENT FOR AF, D, DRL, PRM; LONDON AND PARIS FOR
AFRICAWATCHERS; GENEVA FOR CAMPBELL
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM PREF ASEC CD SU
SUBJECT: INTER-ETHNIC VIOLENCE IN SOUTHEASTERN CHAD:
PERSPECTIVES FROM HUMAN RIGHTS GROUPS
1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The recent inter-ethnic violence in
southeastern Chad, which has its roots in historical
divisions and competition for land resources, has been
amplified by deteriorating relations between Chad and Sudan,
according to human rights researchers groups visiting the
region. While an international peacekeeping force may deter
future violence, a long-term solution must address land
resource management and develop an appropriate conflict
resolution mechanism. END SUMMARY.
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ORIGINS OF INTER-ETHNIC VIOLENCE
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2. (SBU) Researchers from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty
International recently met with the Ambassador to discuss
their findings following weeks of research in southeastern
Chad. These weeks have witnessed a series of inter-ethnic
clashes that left hundreds of civilians dead and prompted
Chadian authorities to institute a state of emergency in
November. According to these researchers, the conflict in
eastern Chad is a result of dwindling land resources, and a
breakdown in traditional conflict resolution mechanisms.
Historically, conflicts over land resources have occurred
between Arabic nomadic groups and the sedentary pastoralists
belonging to the Dadjo and Moro ethnic groups. Arabs have
asserted that the land is theirs for grazing, and the
pastoralists claim the land is theirs for agricultural
activity. In the past, when disputes arose, conflicts were
resolved through the traditional resolution mechanism, in
which local leaders rendered decisions after hearing claims
by the parties. In most cases, regardless of the ethnicity
of the arbitrator, the decisions were respected by the
parties.
3. (SBU) Recently, as arable land becomes more difficult to
come by, the competition for resources has become more
fierce. Arab nomads interviewed by these researchers claimed
that Dadjo pastoralists shot and killed many of their cattle,
and were cornering off land using barbed wire, with the
intention to injure their livestock. Dadjo claimed that the
Arab nomads were overgrazing the land, and allowing their
livestock to destroy critical food crops. Amplifying the
tension was the perception among the Arab communities that
Dadjo local leaders were rendering decisions in disputes in
favor of their Dadjo kinsmen. Several arabic nomads
interviewed argued that their claims of Dadjo attacks on
their cattle were ignored by the local Dadjo leaders.
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INVOLVEMENT OF CHADIANS AND SUDANESE GOVERNMENTS, REBEL GROUPS
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4. (SBU) In this environment, clashes between Arabic nomads
and Dadjo pastoralists took place. The researchers point out
that while some assert that the Government of Sudan is
supporting Arab attacks against the Chadian communities to
destabilize the Deby regime, they themselves see no evidence
of such a strategy. They do observe assistance from Sudanese
Arab groups (many of whom come from the Janjaweed militas in
Darfur) for Chadian Arab groups. This support is driven by
the belief that Chadian and Sudanese Arabs are one in origin
(a notion referred to as the Wahediya) and should support
each other in times of crisis. The researchers have been
able to confirm Sudanese arms and munitions used by these
militas, indicating that the GOS does provide some level of
support that arrives in the hands of the Arab groups. They
also point out that while that they have no evidence of
direct links between Chadian rebels groups coming from Sudan
and these Arab militas, Chadian rebels are probably taking
advantage of the power vacuum left after the attacks to
secure areas as a possible base to launch attacks against the
Chadian national army.
5. (SBU) The Dadjo's support base is more multi-faceted in
scope. The researchers have identified instances of the
Chadian national army arming popular and local defense forces
(the Toroboro) trying to combat attacks by Arab nomads.
They do note that the support is minimal, and consists more
of weapons and munitions sales to local groups in exchange
for food supplies. The researchers claim that support by
Sudanese rebel groups is much more prevalent and wide-spread.
They point out the example of Hassan Yunus, a local Dadjo
warlord, who, in response to an attack by Arab militas,
turned to Nouri Minnawi, a field commander Justice and
Equality Movement, who provided arms and munitions to Yunus.
In return for these weapons and munitions, Sudanese rebel
groups are permitted by local leaders to recruit members of
NDJAMENA 00001376 002 OF 002
the Dadjo community to fight for the Sudanese rebel groups
(such as the JEM and National Redemption Front) in Darfur.
In some cases, Chadian officials assist in these efforts.
The researchers point to Bechir Djabir, an informal advisor
and relative of President Deby, as a Chadian authority aiding
the JEM and NRF's recruitment efforts.
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PEACEKEEPING FORCE NOT ENOUGH
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6. (SBU) While the media reports paint a picture of Arab
militas killing sedentary African villages, the researchers
point out that the level of violence does go both ways: Arab
groups are killing Dadjo, and vice versa. It is true that
nature of the killing is asymmetrical, according to these
researchers, probably rooted in the Arabic nomadic groups'
belief that one Arab death should result in the death of 10
Dadjo, to deter the Dadjo from engaging in further attacks.
7. (SBU) This mentality of violence to deter further
violence, according to the researchers, may be minimally
deterred by the presence of an international peacekeeping
force, but the bloodshed will continue. In order to address
the issues of the conflict, any international peacekeeping
presence must be coupled with an active and intelligent
engagement with local communities to address land resource
issues and rebuild confidence in the traditional conflict
resolution mechanisms. An international force, according to
the researchers, can be a band-aid to the problem, but will
do little to fully heal the wounds of a conflict deeply
rooted in ethnic divides and a competition for resources.
8. (U) Tripoli Minimize Considered.
WALL
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