SUDAN WATCH: Chadian refugees and donkeys in Darfur moved from insecure border to new camp

Friday, May 12, 2006

Chadian refugees and donkeys in Darfur moved from insecure border to new camp

Despite delays caused by recalcitrant donkeys, the UN refugee agency managed Thursday to move nearly 500 Chadian refugees from unsafe areas along the Chad-Sudan border to a new refugee camp further inland in West Darfur, Reuters reported today:

A convoy of eight passenger trucks and one bus carried 494 Chadian refugees of Daju ethnicity from Habila, on the border, to Um Shalaya, southeast of El Geneina, capital of West Darfur.

Three additional trucks carried the refugees' possessions and four trucks carried their donkeys [! Wish I could find a photo :-)]
The convoy left some three hours late because the donkeys could not be persuaded to board the trucks in an orderly manner, and the convoy took six and a half hours to cover the 60 km to the camp. The African Union provided a military escort for the journey.

"We are working together with the International Organization of Migration to transport refugees from their border locations to the new camp," UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis told journalists in Geneva. "We plan to move about 1,500 refugees per week to the camp in three separate convoys of about 500 people each."

The convoy was greeted at the camp by the camp manager, the umda (chief of a number of villages), local sheikhs and women who had prepared food as a welcome gesture.

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