Last Updated: Thursday, 27 November 2014, 13:39 GMT

Chad: Refugee relocation starts but IDPs remain

Publisher Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)
Publication Date 10 March 2008
Cite as Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), Chad: Refugee relocation starts but IDPs remain, 10 March 2008, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/47d658ed1e.html [accessed 28 November 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
DAKAR, 10 March 2008 (IRIN) - The first 117 of the some 13,000 Sudanese refugees who arrived last month at the volatile border area near the village of Birak in eastern Chad have been moved further inland according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) although a second transfer planned for Friday was delayed because of renewed fighting on the Sudanese side of the frontier.

"Fresh fighting was reported across the border near Jebel Moun [on 6 March in the] afternoon so the transfer is temporarily on hold," UNHCR spokesperson Jennifer Pagonis said on 7 March. "Our staff now anticipates further arrivals and will restart the transfer as soon as the security situation allows."

UNHCR also said more Sudanese are expected to cross into Chad because of the renewed fighting. The refugees on the border are currently living in open fields.

On 11 February Chadian Prime Minister Nouradine Delwa Kassiré Coumakoye said the government would refuse entry to any new Sudanese refugees. "We cannot admit any more," the prime minister said.

Two days later UNHCR attempts to transfer the newly arrived refugees were blocked by an unknown armed group. "This is deeply concerning and we are making every effort with the Chadian authorities to get these refugees moved quickly," UNHCR's Pagonis said on 15 February.

At least 70 percent of the refugees on the border are women and children and some have been severely wounded and traumatised. "[They would be] among the first to be transferred to existing refugee camps, where they will be better assisted and protected," UNHCR's representative in Chad Serge Male said.

The 117 were moved in four trucks to Kounoungou refugee camp, near the town of Guéréda some 70 kilometres from the border.

UNHCR said preparations are underway to receive more at Kounoungou, and at another camp called Mile. "As of next week, we will have at least 12 trucks available to transport refugees from the border to the camps," Pagonis said.

There are over 250,000 Sudanese refugees in Chad, almost all of them living in 12 camps in the country's east, however there are also approximately 180,000 displaced Chadians in the east and many of them live in smaller, more spread out sites that are more vulnerable to attack.

More than 20,000 displaced Chadians live in small communities along the border with Sudan and are largely forgotten.

Some of the displaced there told IRIN in January that armed Sudanese bandits frequently enter their site at night on horseback to rob them. "When we resist, we are victims of machetes and beatings," Aktib Anour Hamid, head of one of the displaced villages from Moudeina, told IRIN.

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