|04DJIBOUTI18||2004-01-06 05:52:00||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Embassy Djibouti|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
1. Summary of Significant Events
A. Narrative Overview of Significant Events
1. (U) RSO continues to manage a very intensive portfolio
with little to no assistance. As the mission continues to
expand the need for security services increases, but the
security section remains the same. Post has gone from 8
direct hire Americans to a current staff of 15 with 7 long
term TDYers and a projected staff of 20 by the spring of
2004, all of which need security services in one form or
2. (U) From 10/19 to 10/27, RSO participated in the
International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
conference located in Philadelphia. RSO accompanied the
chief of the Djibouti National Police Force, as one of 6
personal invitees of Ambassador Taylor.
In addition to the IACP conference, RSO participated in
several visits to Post:
- 10/12 to 10/14 Visit of AF/EX PMO Ray Maxwell
- 10/29 to 11/03 - STS Jack McKenna to repair technical
security equipment. Post continues to suffer
from technical malfunctions of its Lock & Leave systems. RSO
is working closely with SEO Addis to address technical issues
as they arise.
- 11/02 - Visit of USAID Administrator Andrew Natsios
- 11/04 - Visit of ORA RMO Dr. Allen Ries
- 11/14 to 11/19 - DS/MSD/MTT Training Visit
- 11/28 to 12/02 - DS/FSE/FSB X-Ray team
- 11/30 to 12/03 - FSI Instructor Michael Braxton; Crisis
- 12/07 to 12/13 - Phillip Carter; Deputy Director East
- 12/07 to 12/16 - Terrorist Interdiction Program
3. (U) RSO has not received any reports of attacks on
Americans during this quarter. As reported before, RSO and
embassy personnel continue to monitor crime trends and RSO
continues to work closely with host nation police to ensure
the safety of all personnel. Reports of petty theft, fraud,
assault, battery, sexual deviation, and unlawful trade
continue to be reported informally, but host nation police
forces continue to report that crime is decreasing.
4. (U) RSO is working closely with DS/ATA in coordinating law
enforcement training for local security personnel. One ATA
course was successfully completed and 2 more courses were
offered during the 4th quarter.
5. (U) RSO supported the visit of the Chairman of the Joint
Chiefs General Richard Myers and several other sub CINC
visits of military personnel during this quarter. RSO
continues to work closely with and support Other agencies at
post to coordinate visits and security Briefings.
B. Mission Wide Emergency Action Drills:
(a) Bomb Drill - 30 June 2003
(b) Fire Drill - 11 November 2003
(c) Emergency Destruction Drill - Unable to accomplish
(d) D&C Drill - 27 August 2003
(e) Crisis Mgmt Ex - 01 December 2003
2. Constituent posts: Not applicable.
3. MSG activities: Not applicable.
2. Threats and incidents:
A. (SBU) Post has Convened the EAC 1 time during the quarter
in response to threat information and other agencies at post
have submitted numerous threat related reports back to their
head Quarters. Post continues to be rated as critical for
trans-national terrorism. RSO continues to work closely with
Host nation security to monitor activity and strengthen the
physical security measures surrounding the embassy in
response to that activity. Post received an additional
130,000.00USD at the end of the fiscal year to supplement the
physical security of the perimeter. RSO is working closely
with GSO to acquire the materials and implement the
countermeasures as fast as possible.
B. Constituent posts: Not applicable
3. DS initiated investigations:
Number of cases generated by headquarters offices:
opened closed pending overdue
1. PSS (7) (9) (0) (0)
2. VF (1) (0) (1) (0)
3. PF (0) (0) (0) (0)
4. CIL (0) (0) (0) (0)
5. PR (0) (0) (0) (0)
6. CI (0) (0) (0) (0)
7. PII (0) (0) (0) (0)
Number of cases generated by post:
1. Post FSN/PSC (5) (0) (16) (0)
2. Other Agency RFAS (0) (0) (0) (0)
3. Host Govt RFAS (0) (0) (0) (0)
4. RSO Criminal (0) (0) (0) (0)
4. Action cables/e-mails not answered by DS:
22 Dec 03 and previous emails With OBO/PE/SM/TSB - Overdue
replacement of cracked laminate for CAC. Efforts have been
made to replace this laminate for almost a year now with no
03 Djibouti 988 - Reactivation of an MSG Det. Post has yet
to officially her from the Department on this matter, which
was submitted in May 2003.
5. Summary of separate reports:
A. CIWG report: 01/05/04 - 04 Djibouti 00010
B. Emergency action plans: completed and distributed by DS
on 12/19/2001 via 02 State 217606. Next full revision of the
EAP is due 06/05. An update of the EAP will be conducted in
C. Security surveys:
Chancery - 02 March 2003
Warehouse - 02 March 2003
EMR - 02 March 2003
D. Procedural security survey: 01/12/03
E. Comprehensive SPE inventory: 01/30/03
F. RSO quarterly travel report: none.
G. DSS overseas firearms qualification policy: RSO
re-qualified 15 November 2003 during the MTT visit (03
H. Annual Crime Evaluation Questionnaire and OSAC
Crime/Safety report: There have been no significant changes
in the crime posture of Djibouti since last years report.
I. ACEQ -
1. (SBU) Crime Mobility - response (c).
Comments: Although criminals have easy access to embassy
residential areas, there have been no reports of theft,
burglary or other crimes against Americans in the past six
months. The 24hr local guard coverage is acting as an
2. (SBU) Crime Ambience - response (b).
Comments: Due to the proximity of the high crime port area,
just 1 mile from the embassy residential area, the potential
for criminal activity especially at night still exists.
Physical security measures coupled with 24hr guard coverage
has helped deter would be burglars. Post has acquired new
housing within an area of the city that is farther away from
the upper scale district of Heron. Not enough time has
passed to adequately survey the impact of criminal activity
towards these residences. Should criminal activity begin to
surface in this area RSO will report accordingly.
3. (U) Aggressiveness of Criminals - response (b).
Comments: Due to the habitual use of the amphetamine Khat, by
the majority of the male populace, the potential for
aggressive behavior on behalf of the criminal could be
exhibited, but no reports have been submitted that document
4. (U) Arming of Criminals - response (b).
Comments: Violent crimes involving firearms are rare, but the
presence of firearms is becoming more prevalent due to the
porous borders between Djibouti, Somalia, Ethiopia and
Eritrea. Knives and sharp objects seem to be the weapon of
choice for the would be assailant.
5. (U) Aggregation of Criminals - response (b).
Comments: Criminals generally aggregate by ethnic
affiliation, clanship or tribalism. Incidents in the past
indicate that victims are spared gratuitous violence if they
comply with the perpetrators.
6. (SBU) Deterrence/Response of Police - response (c).
Comments: The national police force is under trained, under
resourced and under paid. They lack sufficient and adequate
equipment and do not have the budget, experience or knowledge
to effectively combat crime. The local criminal sees this and
is not deterred by the presence or actions of the police.
Embassy officers rely on the RSO and LGF to respond to any
incident that may occur at their residences.
7. (SBU) Training/Professionalism of Police - response (d).
Comments: It has been three years since the attempted, but
failed, coup was carried out against the current president.
The police forces have appeared to bounce back and are in the
daily process of carrying out their duties. RSO works
closely with senior level police on a weekly basis and
believes that a concerted effort to change the past is being
made. The lower levels of police officers still suffer from
low salaries, virtually no benefits, poor equipment and
inadequate training. In FY-03, DS/ATA provided the government
of Djibouti with a series of courses that are designed to
enhance the law enforcement capabilities of their security
services. The ATA program continues to evolve for Djibouti
J. OSAC/CSR -
1. (U) Overall crime and safety situation: the State
Department,s Bureau of Diplomatic Security rates Djibouti as
a high crime threat post. Endemic poverty, widespread
unemployment and a growing refugee population have led to an
increase in criminal activity over the past several years.
Most reported incidents are crimes of opportunity for
immediate gain such as pick-pocketing and petty theft.
Violent crimes committed at knifepoint, are also reported but
not common. There have been burglary attempts against
expatriate residences, but perpetrators generally lack the
sophistication required to
Overcome home alarm systems and security guards. The large
number of unemployed males loitering downtown and in other
areas frequented by expatriates allows criminals to roam
undetected. The port, bus terminal and downtown areas of
Djibouti are considered at greatest risk for street crime.
Criminal activity is exacerbated by the widespread abuse of
Khat, an amphetamine that tends to increase aggressiveness
2. (U) Political violence: The government and community
leaders have stated publicly their strong support for the
U.S. and coalition efforts in the Global War on Terrorism
and. Although anti U.S. demonstrations broke out at the
beginning of the Iraqi conflict, the focus of the
demonstrations was aimed at the war and not Americans
overall. The demonstrations lasted approximately 5 days, but
there have been no signs since of anti-American sentiment.
65 percent of Djiboutians are ethnic Somalis, and the rest
are afar or foreigners.
Domestic political violence is a less significant threat than
during the civil war (1990-1996), but rivalry persists
between Djibouti,s Somali and Afar ethnic groups. Since the
may 2001 signing of a peace accord, many former rebels have
been integrated into the National Police and Defense Forces.
Demonstrations, often protesting against the Government,s
nonpayment of salaries, sometimes take place and police
occasionally use non-lethal force to disperse unauthorized
demonstrators. Civil unrest could also result If the daily
air delivery of Khat from neighboring countries were
disrupted or delayed for any reason. Visitors are advised to
avoid political gatherings and large crowds.
Djibouti lies at the crossroads between the middle east and
the horn of Africa and hosts a substantial population of
refugees from throughout the region. The governments of
Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Russia,
China, France, The United States and other nations maintain
diplomatic or honorary representation in Djibouti.
Djibouti,s proximity to a number of conflict-torn states and
the governments limited capacity to monitor border controls
has raised concerns over the possibility of cross-border
3. (U) Post-specific safety concerns:
Road travel to the north of the country is considered unsafe
due to poorly constructed roads and the lack of service or
A significant percentage of Djiboutian males are under the
influence of Khat on a daily basis. The drugs effects may
escalate what would otherwise be a casual interaction (such
as a bumped elbow) into a confrontation.
Djibouti is an Islamic country; visitors should dress
conservatively and observe local customs.
4. (U) Police response: The Djiboutian National Police Force
is severely under resourced. The police lack transportation,
fuel, and communications equipment, which severely affects
Police responsiveness. The government is generally 3-6
months in arrears for payment of police salaries. In
addition, the Government will be forced to reduce its Police
Force by 40% in 2004 in order to meet economic demands.
Visitors requiring police assistance are advised to appear in
person at the commissariat of police, located across from the
general post office on the Boulevard de la Republique. The
central police telephone number is 352-343. Private security
guards for residences and facilities are generally hired on
an ad-hoc basis. There are few security guard companies,
none that are capable of providing patrol response services.
5. (U) Medical emergencies: Local medical facilities do not
generally offer standards of care available in western
countries, although there are a few French-trained doctors
who cater to the expatriate community. Visitors with medical
problems are advised to contact the hospital Bouffard (French
Military hospital) at 351-351 ext.53015.
Falciparum-type malaria (chloroquine-resistant) is widespread
in Djibouti; prophylaxis is advised.
HIV/AIDS is also a serious concern, especially among the
urban population; approximately 12 percent of all Djiboutians
6. (U) Tips to avoid being a victim:
a) Street Safety: Visitors to Djibouti should remain
vigilant at all times and maintain a high security awareness
while on the streets. Additional caution should be exercised
around the port, bus terminal, central market (Quartiers 2
and 3) and downtown, especially after dark. Panhandlers and
street children target foreigners for petty theft by creating
distractions. Visitors should Avoid isolated areas,
particularly along the urban coastline.
b) Traffic Safety: road conditions are poor throughout
Djibouti. Drivers should beware of potholes, unskilled
drivers, and the presence of non-roadworthy vehicles on urban
and rural roads. Pedestrians and livestock often appear on
roadways without warning. Reports indicate that nomads in
rural areas place rocks on the roads to stop vehicles and
demand water and/or transportation. The theft of high-value
items from stopped vehicles has been reported. Drivers
should keep their windows up and doors locked and are
especially vigilant at intersections. Unattended vehicles
should always be locked, with valuables secured in an
Visitors who are involved in traffic accidents should attempt
to exchange insurance information with the other party and
summon a traffic policeman if one is nearby. It is
inadvisable to make restitution at the scene, especially if
livestock or pedestrians are involved. Drivers should be
weary of crowds gathering at the scene of an accident and
should depart immediately if they perceive a threat to their
c) Hotel Safety: US Government personnel on temporary
assignment to Djibouti are advised to stay in one of four
hotels: The Sheraton, The Plen Cielle, The Bellevue and The
Europa. Other hotels are considered inadequate. Visitors
have reported incidents of robbery and aggressive
solicitation by prostitutes. Visitors are advised to lock
their doors and admit only expected visitors into hotel rooms.
7. (U) Further information: There is no OSAC country council
in Djibouti. American citizens are encouraged to register
with the embassy by appearing in person at the Consular
section. The embassy is located on Avenue Marechal Joffre at
the Plateau du Serpent (near the Sheraton hotel). Business
hours are 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Sunday through Thursday.
Telephone numbers are (253) 353-995. Americans are welcome
to visit the consular section any time during business hours
or to telephone the embassy 24 hours a day in case of an
6. POC is RSO Marc Ramos at 253-35-39-95 ext 2307.