January 9th, 2007 06:38 EST
Chad: UN voices ‘extreme concern’ for tens of thousands displaced by fighting
Inter-communal fighting in eastern Chad near Sudan’s war-torn Darfur region has uprooted another 20,000 Chadians within the past three weeks, bringing the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) to over 100,000, in addition to more than 220,000 Darfur refugees, the United Nations refugee agency reported today.
“While there has been a decrease in fighting between the Chadian army and opposition forces, inter-communal conflict continues in south-eastern parts of the country near the border with Sudan’s Darfur region,” UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis told a news briefing in Geneva. “UNHCR remains extremely concerned over the security situation.”
More than 10,000 Chadians have been driven from their homes in cross-border attacks by alleged Janjaweed militia from Sudan in the Borota region. Another 10,000 have fled more than 20 villages and are now gathered in the town of Gassire, north of the refugee hub of Goz Beida.
“This insecurity is now posing a direct threat to refugee camps housing thousands of Sudanese from Darfur,” Ms. Pagonis said.
UNHCR yesterday sent a technical mission to Gassire to assess the IDPs’ needs. Humanitarian agencies, whose activities had already been reduced because of the insecurity, are now severely over-stretched.
Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno has said his government will send troops to restore security in eastern Chad and that his government had made available some $8 million to aid IDPs.
There are 220,000 refugees from Darfur in 12 UNHCR-run camps in eastern Chad as well as 46,000 refugees from the Central African Republic in southern Chad.