The Chad News Archive

Sudan Rebels Use Chad Camps

BBC News (7/7/09)

A BBC reporter in Chad has seen armed Sudanese rebels openly driving through Oure Cassoni camp for Darfur refugees.

The Justice and Equality Movement (Jem) fighters were armed with rocket-propelled grenades and AK-47s.

A Jem spokesman told the BBC his group had permission from the authorities to enter the camp near Sudan's border for supplies and to get vehicles fixed.

Aid workers say their presence in the camp, near the town of Bahay, is putting refugees' safety at risk.

The BBC's Celeste Hicks in Bahay says last month planes bombed three kilometres away from the camp, in what was believed to be Sudanese retaliation for Jem taking the Darfuri towns of Kornoi and Um Baru in May.

Two local people and many animals were killed.

"All the children had gone to the wadi [dry river bed] to collect firewood," refugee Izadine Kashir told the BBC

"We heard the bombing and saw huge clouds of smoke. Everyone panicked and the women went running out of the camp to get the children."

More than two million people have been forced from their homes during the six-year conflict in Darfur. Some 250,000 have crossed the border into Chad.

No peacekeeper patrols

According to the UN's refugee agency, the carrying of arms into refugee camps is prohibited by international refugee law.

But Oure Cassoni falls well short of those rules, our correspondent says.

"We cannot provide assistance [unless] in a neutral environment - the capacity to ensure its civilian and humanitarian nature is just not there," says Serge Male, UNHCR's outgoing representative in Chad.

The UNHCR had hoped the arrival in 2008 of the UN peacekeeping mission for Chad and the Central African Republic (Minurcat) would provide a deterrent to the armed men, our reporter says.

But while they have started patrols further south, humanitarian workers in Bahay say it has been months since they last saw them.

"We have had a challenge of finding water to set up a permanent base there," says Minurcat head Victor Angelo.

"But we will do everything that's necessary to stop people using the camp to recruit children or as a rest and recuperation facility."

UNHCR warns that unless Minurcat deploys, aid workers have only two options.

"Either we move the camp, or finally we can decide to completely withdraw assistance. Something has to change soon," Mr Male says.

Chad's government denies allegations it has close links with Jem, who come from the same ethnic group as President Idriss Deby - and are often seen in N'Djamena hotels.

"Jem is not being paid by the Chadian government, we have no way of putting pressure on them," says government spokesperson Mahamat Hissene.

"We've done everything we can to bring security to Chad but with so many refugees we had to ask the UN peacekeepers to come in."

Jem took up arms in 2003, complaining that Sudan's Arab-dominated government was discriminating against Darfur.

Go to source site        View all articles

news archive

Reuters (2/13/15)
Boko Haram Attacks...
Boko Haram Attacks Village in Chad as Revolt Spreads...more
Wake Forest News (7/15/14)
Chadian Aboubaker Ousman Graduates Law S...
Aboubaker Ousman of N'Djamena, Chad, has earned a Master of Laws in American Law (LL.M.) ...more
Reuters (10/22/2013)
Chad Lifts CNPC Suspension...
Chad has allowed China National Petroleum Corporation to resume operations suspended in August for violations of environmental standards...more
Bloomberg (6/24/2013)
Chad Signs Water Deal...
Chad's government signed a 12 million-euro ($16 million) agreement with France for a water project in the capital, Ndjamena,...more
Reuters (6/18/2013)
Chad Arrests Elephant Poacher...
Authorities in Chad have arrested a suspected member of a poaching gang accused of slaughtering nearly 200 elephants...more
The Guardian (5/30/12)
The Charcoal Challenge...
Nelly Benoudjita's eyes sparkle behind her horn-rimmed glasses as she stirs a huge vat of boiling oil,...more
AFP (5/9/12)
Chadian Shoots at French...
A man thought to be a Chadian soldier shot at two French soldiers as they left a military base near the capital N'Djamena...more
All Africa (4/4/12)
Malnutrition in Chad...
As malnutrition reaches emergency levels across the Sahel with at least one million children at risk...more
more news

Chad Newsletter Chad news alerts, content updates

Enter your email