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mia farrow

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January 13, 2009

A rumor. I hope it isn't true

Romor: A large Justice and Equality Movement [JEM] force, consisting of almost 350 Land Cruisers and a number of trucks has gathered in Saq al-Ni'am, Wadul and Umm Haush regions southeast of Al-Fashir.

· 2100-2500 fully armed troops reported involved (6-7 men per vehicle, fully loaded with ammunition).

· Source is claiming force was led by the JEM's Leader Khalil Ibrahim and that there was another force consisting of 150 vehicles led by Sulayman Sandal.

· Source indicates attack on Al-Fashir pending while intercepting convoys coming from Omdurman. Attacks on oil production sites are also planned.

Analysis: There are no outside sources to confirm this report and given Khalil Ibrahim's involvement in the operation, the source probably is exaggerating JEM's numbers and plans. It is unlikely that the JEM is capable of mustering and coordinating such large numbers, nor will it be able to sustain a concerted attack beyond 48-72 hours at maximum. While they probably are planning an attack in the Al-Fashir area, they will focus on low-risk targets as opportunities arise, and then fade back into the desert to capitalize on the publicity the attacks will garner. They will avoid engaging Sudanese troops wherever possible unless they can establish an ambush. However, the JEM threat to aid workers, westerners, and oil personnel in and around Al-Fashir will remain high throughout January or until the JEM's planned assault runs its course.
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