Friday, February 03, 2006

New Janjaweed attacks force more Darfuris into Chad camps

Gaga camp in eastern Chad has received some 1,000 new refugees since the start of the year, says camp manager Milaiti Ruben of the aid agency Africare. And he expects no let-up. "The stream will continue because insecurity reigns along the border," he told IRIN. "And the simplest way for people to protect themselves is to flee."

Gaga is the newest of 12 refugee camps scattered up and down eastern Chad, and for the moment space is not a problem. "We're at about 7,000 people now," said Ruben. "But we have the capacity to house 30,000."

Raids and attacks along the Sudan-Chad border are not only creating new cases for the clinic, but they are also hampering the assistance aid workers can offer.

"Before, we used to send the severe cases of malnutrition to the hospital in Adre, but the insecurity has made it impossible to take them there now," Degoto explained, as hungry infants mewled in the background.

"At the camp we monitor them every hour, but when we leave for the night they're on their own until the morning."

Darfuris flee to Chad

Photo: Sudanese refugees wait to be registered at Gaga camp in eastern Chad. For many of the new arrivals, it is the second or third time they have been forced to flee. There are others who sought shelter in villages just inside Chad but soon found that the Kalashnikov-wielding Sudanese militia paid no heed to international boundaries, staging raids across the border on horses and camels. (Courtesy IRIN)

Darfuris flee to Chad

Photo: Ask Kaltouma Yaya Ato why three years into the Darfur conflict, she has only just decided to seek refuge in Chad, and the 80-year old says not a word. She simply rolls up the folds of her skirt to reveal traces of the Janjawid. Her left leg has swollen to twice its normal size - the result of a beating the Arab militiamen inflicted on the frail old woman using wooden clubs. Her crime? To be out looking for firewood at the wrong time. Her punishment? One month later, she cannot even stand, let alone walk. "They show no pity to anyone," she whispered. (Courtesy Claire Soares/IRIN)

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