US embassy cable - 06KHARTOUM2489

DARFUR: NEW AU FORCE COMMANDER: GENERAL APREZI

Identifier: 06KHARTOUM2489
Wikileaks: View 06KHARTOUM2489 at Wikileaks.org
Origin: Embassy Khartoum
Created: 2006-10-11 15:25:00
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED
Tags: PREL SU
Redacted: This cable was not redacted by Wikileaks.
VZCZCXRO5960
PP RUEHMA RUEHROV
DE RUEHKH #2489/01 2841525
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 111525Z OCT 06
FM AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4921
INFO RUCNFUR/DARFUR COLLECTIVE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KHARTOUM 002489 
 
SIPDIS 
 
SIPDIS 
 
DEPT. FOR AF SPECIAL ENVOY NATSIOS, AF/SPG 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: PREL, SU 
SUBJECT: DARFUR: NEW AU FORCE COMMANDER: GENERAL APREZI 
 
 
1. (U) Summary: New African Union Force Commander in El 
Fasher, General Luke (or LKF) Aprezi, laid out his views on 
major challenges to the AMIS mission in an October 9 meeting 
with DCM Roberto Powers and Acting Defense Liaison officer 
Richard Shirley. Aprezi is originally from the Niger River 
Delta area of Nigeria. He spent time in the U.S. in the early 
1980's and previously served both in Yugoslavia and Liberia. 
Aprezi noted that his mission "is not peacekeeping," but 
instead, "to provide a secure environment for humanitarian 
efforts." He laid out the major challenges to the AU in 
Darfur, focusing on a shortage of manpower and logistical 
support for moving his troops the large distances required to 
cover Darfur. End summary. 
 
----------------------------------- 
AMIS "Can't Dominate on the Ground" 
----------------------------------- 
 
2. (U) Aprezi strongly highlighted AMIS' lack of manpower, 
noting that one battalion covers 43,000 km. Companies are 
spread 200 kms apart, and effective patrolling is impossible 
over such large distances. When AMIS tries to increase 
coverage by dropping patrol sizes to platoon level they are 
overwhelmed in the field. Aprezi said that without sufficient 
checkpoints on main roads AMIS can,t monitor who is moving 
what and to where, leaving the roads vulnerable to banditry. 
 
3. (U) "AMIS has to be enhanced to do the job," Aprezi 
argued. Ideally he would like another nine additional 
battalions, one for each sector plus one for HQ as an escort 
force. If Aprezi gets additional troops he plans to augment 
checkpoints and increase observation towers to monitor the 
eight sectors' areas of responsibility. 
 
4. (U) When queried about troop morale Aprezi stated that he 
had visited three sectors in his so far brief tenure in 
Fasher, and although morale seemed fine he was well aware 
that, "success breeds good morale." He pointed out the lack 
of sufficient recreation and exercise facilities for the 
troops, "the boys have to let off steam," he said. 
 
 
------------------ 
Logistical Support 
------------------ 
 
5. (U) Aprezi also noted he doesn't have the flexibility to 
concentrate power or move his troops quickly due to the fixed 
nature of the AMIS camps. The camps are far apart, they 
always need a guard force, and can't be moved without serious 
air asset support. He emphasized that with regard to this air 
asset support, "PAE has to support us, nothing is possible if 
the logistics are not there." 
 
6. (U) When asked about his meetings with the GOS he said 
that they would agree to an increase in AMIS forces and 
support, but rejected any UNMIS support. When queried about 
the proposed 105 UN advisors, he said that he had received a 
letter from the GOS asking for his staffing plan. Because of 
this, he believes that it was approved. 
 
7. (U) Aprezi said he planned a strong approach to security 
problems in Tawila, a town with a large IDP camp 
approximately 80kms from AMIS headquarters in El Fasher. 
Aprezi stated that AMIS should not be having such serious 
problems ensuring security for IDP camps that are virtually 
in AMIS' back yard. Aprezi suggested AMIS might have a 
"command problem," and noted he was determined to exert firm 
command and control of his forces. With regard to the 
security situation Aprezi emphasized that AMIS must "dominate 
the ground" to stop non-signatory groups from "behaving with 
impunity." He said he wants to change the climate so it is 
also less permissive for general banditry. 
 
------------------------ 
The General's Priorities 
------------------------ 
 
8. (U) As his first priority Aprezi again flagged his lack of 
manpower, "we must have a credible force on the ground." He 
said that the old CONOPS had called for another six 
battalions, and although his new CONOPS calls for three more, 
the priority was to get the new battalions in as soon as 
possible. 
 
9. (U) When asked, Aprezi admitted that they have no 
equipment for night operations, but argued that, as such 
equipment is less valuable at long range, "if you have 
checkpoints you don't need it, you know who's on the road." 
He said that once they have staffed observation posts they 
might need increased night operations equipment. In addition, 
 
KHARTOUM 00002489  002 OF 002 
 
 
he noted that AMIS has no combat air assets, and helicopter 
gunships would be a great asset for covering the eight 
sectors. Aprezi commended PAE, but also pushed for greater 
logistics support. 
 
-------------------- 
DPA: Non-Signatories 
-------------------- 
 
10. (U) When asked by the DCM about the impact of a 
non-signatory conference in Darfur, Aprezi noted that he has 
suggested the creation of a new forum to work with 
non-signatories since they have been removed from the 
Ceasefire Commission (CFC). He said non-signatories need to 
meet once a month with the AU and international community 
and, in parallel, political leaders should meet in Khartoum 
once a month to resolve political issues. Aprezi noted that 
he has tasked his information team to provide more briefings 
on AMIS' activities to the international community. 
 
----------------------------------- 
Janjaweed and Cease Fire Violations 
----------------------------------- 
 
11. (U) With regard to disarming the Janjaweed, Aprezi stated 
that he had already held two meetings of the CFC, and that 
disarmament was on the last meeting's agenda. He further 
stated that he was waiting for a copy of the GOS plan to 
disarm the Janjaweed to be submitted to the AU for review and 
then he would present it to the CFC. He argued that certain 
aspects could start without the non-signatories' 
participation in the CFC. 
 
12. (U) With regard to investigating cease fire violations, 
Aprezi argued that a lack of good information on the ground 
means that AMIS can't clearly identify or hold accountable 
the culprits. "We must be able to hold people responsible," 
he said. He mentioned that he plans to increase his 
intelligence capacity, and extend a network of informants in 
the IDP camps. 
 
13. (U) COMMENT: General Aprezi appears to have a good grasp 
of the challenges AMIS faces in Darfur, and a plan to address 
these challenges. However, much of his plans are predicated 
on an increase in troop strength, funding, and logistical 
support from the international community. END COMMENT. 
HUME 

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