wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy  Privacy
IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
10ASMARA14 2010-01-20 11:07:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Asmara
Cable title:  

DECREASES IN DARFUR FIGHTERS IN ERITREA

Tags:   PREL PREF MOPS PGOV SU ER 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO2893
RR RUEHROV
DE RUEHAE #0014 0201107
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 201107Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY ASMARA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0675
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHDC
RUMICEA/JICCENT MACDILL AFB FL
RUEPADJ/CJTF-HOA J2X CAMP LEMONIER DJ
RHRMDAB/COMUSNAVCENT
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L ASMARA 000014 

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/E AND AF/RSA
LONDON AND PARIS FOR AFRICA WATCHERS
S/USSES

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/13/2020
TAGS: PREL PREF MOPS PGOV SU ER
SUBJECT: DECREASES IN DARFUR FIGHTERS IN ERITREA

REF: 09 ASMARA 368

Classified By: Ambassador Ronald K. McMullen for reason 1.4(d).



1. (C) The number of fighters from Darfur rebel groups in
Eritrea has shrunk considerably over the last few months,
according to Abdul Beghi, a representative from the
Revolutionary Democratic Freedom Forces (RDFF) in Asmara.
Beghi said most of the fighters, who were stationed along
Eritrea's western border, "escaped" once the Eritrean
government (GSE) tried to unite the movements under the JEM
banner several months ago. He also mentioned the GSE wanted
to invite the Janjaweed to come to Eritrea and join this
coalition, but the other fighters opposed this move. Beghi
believed the GSE is an agitator in the region, and its goal
in hosting the fighters is to have a controlling stake in one
of the Sudanese government's most pressing concerns.
According to Beghi, the following numbers of Darfur fighters
are present in Eritrea:

- JEM: 400
- SLM/Abdulwahid: 80 (down from 380)
- SLM/Khamis: 50 (down from 250)
- Sudan Federal Democratic Alliance (SFDA): 35

(NOTE: The two other known Darfur groups in Eritrea,
SLM/Minnawi and RDFF, do not have armed wings in country to
Post's knowledge. End Note)



2. (C) Osman Wash, JEM's former legal advisor turned
independent Darfur analyst, said the status of the troops is
more complicated than Beghi presented. Wash said the
fighters "are more like refugees." They are unable to return
to Sudan for fear of arrest and are being offered protection
by the GSE. Contrary to the paranoiac views of the Sudanese
embassy, he continued, the GSE is not arming the
fighters/refugees along the border, but is simply offering a
safe haven. Wash also stated the estimate of JEM fighters in
Eritrea is "largely overblown." He thought the GSE could play
a constructive role in Sudan by simply being neutral, which
he defined as continuing to offer a safehaven and not
providing arms to the Darfur groups.



3. (C) COMMENT: The GSE views itself as the only government
in the region with answers. It will continue to court rebel
groups in an attempt to recreate the Eastern Sudan Peace
Agreement(ESPA), which the GSE helped craft and which it
touts as an example of its regional diplomatic prowess. The
drop in fighter/refugees could reflect diminished GSE
influence resulting from its attempt to force them into one
coalition under JEM. It could also be a result of the
Sudanese government's demands in October 2009 for the GSE to
stop arming insurgent groups (reftel). Regardless of the
reason for the reported drop in armed Darfuris, the groups'
political leaders still congregate in Asmara with little
purpose. It is possible the GSE will continue to try to
unite the groups for its own purposes, however unlikely
success might be.
McMullen