SUDAN WATCH: Geneina, Western Darfur resembles a garrison town of six armed forces and Janjaweed - Refugee crisis grows as Sudan's war crosses into Chad

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Geneina, Western Darfur resembles a garrison town of six armed forces and Janjaweed - Refugee crisis grows as Sudan's war crosses into Chad

Chadian troops guard rebels

Photo: Chadian government troops guard rebel prisoners following an attack by Chadian rebels and army deserters on the town of Adre on the eastern border with Sudan, December 19, 2005. (Reuters).

Snippets from New York Times article Refugee Crisis Grows as Darfur War Crosses a Border by Lydia Polgreen February 28, 2006. Michael Kamber contributed reporting from Geneina the capital of Western Darfur, Sudan:

"You may have thought the terrible situation in Darfur couldn't get worse, but it has," Peter Takirambudde, executive director of the Africa division of Human Rights Watch, said in a recent statement. "Sudan's policy of arming militias and letting them loose is spilling over the border, and civilians have no protection from their attacks, in Darfur or in Chad."

That Chadian rebels have found sanctuary in Sudan is beyond doubt. Geneina, the capital of Western Darfur, resembles a garrison town; armed men from at least six forces are visible on the streets, as are Arabs in street clothes carrying AK-47's. Local residents identify them as janjaweed.

In the market in the evening, Chadian Army deserters wearing their distinctive turbans sit drinking tea, submachine guns beside them. Freshly dug machine-gun pits surround the police and army stations, and aid agencies are putting sandbags around their offices.

The Chadian rebels have new weapons, uniforms and vehicles, aid officials in Geneina said, leading many to conclude that they are getting support from the Sudanese government.

Chadian soldier

Photo: Chadian soldier on the streets of the border town of Adre (Claire Soares/IRIN)

With so much firepower on the Sudanese side of the border, residents in villages like Chad's Ade, south of Adre, have borne almost daily attacks.

"There is no security here," said Hisseine Kassar Mostapha, secretary general of the local government in Ade. "We are out here completely on our own, with no one to protect us."

Chadian soldiers

Photo: Chadian soldiers patrol dirt roads near the Sudan border (Claire Soares/IRIN)

The lack of security means little assistance from international aid groups. In Kolloye, 10,000 Chadians, refugees like Ms. Mahamat, live in roofless grass shelters that give little protection from the frigid night air and no shelter from the punishing desert sun. Water is scarce and food supplies are low, villagers said. The only assistance is a mobile clinic run by Doctors Without Borders that operates three times a week.

Full article reprinted at PoTP and The Tech.

Soldiers belived to be Janjaweed

Photo: Soldiers believed to be Janjaweed. [Sudan Tribune Feb 2006]

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