S E C R E T KHARTOUM 000249
DEPARTMENT FOR AF A A/S CARTER, AF/SPG, NEA/IPA, ISN/CATR,
NSC FOR MGAVIN AND CHUDSON
EO 12958 DECL: 02/24/2019
TAGS ETTC, MASS, PARM, PGOV, PREL, SU
SUBJECT: SUDAN COMPLAINS OF “PROBABLY AMERICAN” BOMBING
ATTACKS IN EASTERN SUDAN
REF: A. KHARTOUM 120 B. KHARTOUM 107 C. KHARTOUM 82 D. KHARTOUM 59
Classified By: CDA Alberto M. Fernandez for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).
¶1. (S) CDA Fernandez was summoned to the Foreign Ministry on the morning of February 24 by Americas Department head Ambassador Nasreddin Wali. Wali said that he had sensitive and worrisome information to relate to the Charge. Reading from hand-written notes in Arabic and referring to a large dog-eared map brought in for the occasion, Wali said that there had been two air attacks on Eastern Sudan in January and February. In the January attack, 43 people were killed and 17 vehicles destroyed. This occurred near Magd, in the Gebeit region of Red Sea state, “the Northern part of an area known as Oku” (phonetic). It is roughly at the latitude of 17 degrees and longitude of 33.5, according to Wali.
¶2. (S) The second attack occurred on February 20 at Bir al-Mansurab (latitude of 17 degrees and longitude of 34, according to Wali). The second attack was 15 kilometers from the site of the January attack. In the February attack, 45 Sudanese were kalled and 14 vehicles destroyed. Both attacks occurred 150 kilometers deep inside Sudan, not near any international border.
¶3. (S) Wali said that “we assume that the planes that attacked us are your planes.” He said that Sudan has had “tight cooperation” with the United States on security matters and any concerns that the USG has about security related issues can be raised within the context of bilateral diplomatic and intelligence relations between the two countries. He added that “Sudan would like to have clarification about this matter. We protest this act and we condemn it. Sudan reserves the right to respond appropriately, at the right time, in a legal manner consistent with protecting its sovereignty.”
¶4. (S) Comment: This complaint by Sudan comes on the heels of the Embassy being tasked by Washington to demarche Khartoum on weapons smuggling issues possibly involving Iran and Hamas (reftels a-c). So it is easy for the regime to assume that the demarches and these kinetic incidents are somehow connected. The initial attack is already the object of gossip by elements of Sudan’s political elite, even outside the tight confines of the regime’s inner circle (reftel d). CDA had already scheduled an Emergency Action Committee meeting on February 24 to discuss the Embassy’s security posture in the runup to the March 4 ICC announcement and this latest news is an additional concern in a very volatile political environment. Embassy requests Washington guidance on what - if any - formal response should be given to the Sudanese. And should this potentially explosive story somehow leak to the sensationalistic Sudanese press, it could very well turn our security situation here from bad to worse. End comment.
Published: Wednesday, 08 December 2010 07:16