Thursday, October 19, 2006

Darfur Violence Spreads To Chad

This is something that was inevitable. It was not a matter of how, but rather of when.
Sudanese Janjaweed militia and Chadian rebels have attacked at least 10 villages in southeast Chad in the past two weeks, killing over 100 people and displacing more than 3,000, local and U.N. officials now say.

The attacks are part of a spillover of violence from Sudan's western Darfur region, where violence has increased as seasonal riverbeds dry out after annual rains, becoming passable to rebel jeeps and Janjaweed on horses or camels. As reported by Reuters,"first we were attacked by local Chadian Arabs and the Janjaweed," said Usman Mucktar Hassan, sitting exhausted and dusty after fleeing his devastated village of Djimese Djarma.

The rainy season offered a brief respite from violence as wadis became impassable. But with the rains almost over, horses can again get around and in a few weeks rebels will be able to circulate freely in their trademark Toyota pickups. Locals say 10 villages have been attacked since October 4. While intervention by the Chadian National Army and local authorities appears to have calmed the situation since Saturday, it remains precarious.

UNHCR is seeking a secure site for Chadian civilians who have fled violence, now estimated at 55,000. However, the apparent alliance of Chadian rebels with Sudanese Janjaweed also increases border tension, with Chadian and Sudanese officials trading blame over rebel attacks despite a string of top-level agreements to mend ties.

The victims have always been and will remain, the women and children. Since, no international pressure seems to be effective, many around the world who care deeply about this issue are heart broken at such news. Prayers to those caught in the middle.

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