Thousands displaced by attacks from Sudan

Do you see this story on the news each night?
Do they tell you the injustice in Iraq has killed 38 000 civillians?
Or does the news just tell us the “The Bird Flu is Coming!”? This must have killed 4, maybe 5 people so far!??
Read on –

Chad: Thousands displaced by attacks from Sudan

“The Janjawid opened fire without warning. They moved steadily inward shooting as they came. The cordon between the two villages meant any one who fled from one village to another would be killed as well. The only ones who survived were those who managed to hide behind trees and bushes (the area has a lot of brush). The Janjawid stole everything we had-all that is left is what the women took out with them in the morning and a very few things the Janjawid left behind.”
A.R.Y 42, from Djawara

“There were three different attacks, with 80 to 90 Janjawid on camels or horses. They shouted against us, saying: ‘Go away, it’s not your land, we’re taking it all back, including the mango trees.’ They went inside houses and looted – clothes, coverlets, carpets and jewels.”
A.A 55, a farmer and chief, forced from his village of Hille Chaoua

The terror inflicted on these villagers has been felt by thousands in communities in Chad along the border with Darfur, western Sudan.

The situation in Eastern Chad mirrors that of Darfur itself in 2003-04. Amnesty International delegates have recorded numerous accounts of killings and looting by well-armed Janjawid militias often accompanied by allied Chadian ethnic groups. The Janjawid attack from across the border in Darfur, western Sudan and have driven 50,000-75,000 people from their land and homes. As they did in Darfur, they have targeted the sedentary farming populations in each area, killing, pillaging, and driving the villagers out. Most of the victims are from the Dajo, Mobeh, Masalit and Kajaksa and other smaller sedentary groups.

Earlier Janjawid attacks targeting the communities’ livestock began in 2003. After late 2005 the intensity of the raids grew. Escaping villagers usually flee further inland and to areas they think will be secure either due to the presence of the Chadian army or the local administration (believing this will guarantee an army response if the area is attacked). Hoping to find protection, some have found themselves facing even more ferocious attacks.

At least 42 people were killed when when villages along the border with Sudan around Koloy canton were attacked on 3 March. Fleeing inland to the Koloy town, the displaced were continuously assaulted, killed and plundered until 10 days later they fled the area to the regional centre at Goz Beida. Goz Beida is the seat of the Dajo Sultan, where a large refugee camp has been established for Sudanese refugees driven out of Darfur after 2003.

The village of Moukchacha were among those attacked in Koloy. A 45-year-old man who survived described the wanderings of the displaced in search of an elusive safety:
“My village Moukchacha was attacked on 3 March from three different directions. After killing the people the Janjawid left with 500 heads of cattle; they also took our food stores. We weren’t able to bury our dead and we left two days after for the village of Koloy. Two weeks after our arrival the village was attacked. Two people who were in the mosque were killed. From Koloy we left for Goz Beida [four days on foot, two by donkey, one by lorry] … Then the Sultan found us this site at Gourkouroun. We were told of a project to move us to another village, but we don’t agree, we don’t have the means to take down our houses to build them up somewhere else. We can’t go back to our homes as there is no security, the rainy season has already begun.”

The displaced resulting from a massive attack by an estimated 1,500 Janjawid on 12 and 13 April that left 118 dead in the villages in the area of Djawara and Djemeze, are clustered in settlements in Dog Dore and Tiero both near the border and lacking any protection. They fear further raids and are extremely vulnerable.

Fleeing to Darfur from the South
In the far south of Chad, near the border with the Central African Republic, the government has withdrawn all its officials as well, apparently, as its armed forces, from the region. In this lawless area the Janjawid can operate with complete impunity. The targeted groups, their resources exhausted find it difficult to travel outside the greater Tissi area to the relative safety of the Goz Beida area. As such some are fleeing into Sudan as refugees across the border from Tissi to Um Dukhun an area equally insecure due to the prevalence of Janjawid and Chadian armed opposition groups. There, over the past two months two refugee camps have been set up for Chadian refugees: Um Shalaya, 25km north of Mornay now shelters more than 3,000 Dajo while there are now 7,000 in camps and 2-3,000 living with relatives in Um Dukhun town (whose 6,000 population has been swollen to 13,000 by displaced and refugees). UNHCR is moving those who wish further away from the border to Mukjar.

Failure to protect from repeated attacks
The killings and forced displacement of Chadian villagers are a direct result of the failure of the government of Sudan to patrol its border and to disarm the Janjawid and bring them to justice.

On the Chadian side, such attacks show the government of Chad’s prioritisations. Forces are deployed to protect Chad from the incursions of the Chadian armed opposition groups with next to none allocated to patrolling rural areas affected by Janjawid attacks.
The Janjawid often carry out their raids to coincide with the attacks of Chadian armed groups: the armed groups’ attacks draw away the Chadian army leaving the local farming groups unprotected.

Lack of humanitarian aid
The situation of the 50,000 newly displaced is desperate. There are already more than 180,000 refugees from Darfur in 12 camps in eastern Chad. They are forced to stay in Chad, in growing frustration and despair as each planting season passes with no solution to their problem. Refugees are still swelling their numbers as attacks continue in Darfur. The refugee camp at Gaga has recently been opened allowing it to take in new refugees. It now shelters 25,000 new refugees.

But people displaced from their homes within Chad have received very little assistance. Despite urgent appeals and campaigns by international humanitarian groups, the level of support that the internally displaced are receiving is only a fraction of that given to refugees from across the border. The Government of Chad plays virtually no role in the provision of aid to the internally displaced persons (IDPs) acting as if they are a problem, like the refugees, beyond their responsibility and for the international community to deal with. The UN also has no funding for work with IDPs in Chad and even funding for refugees has fallen short of what was appealed for.

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