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November 14, 2009

eastern Chad too dangerous. Six Aid groups have suspended work there

Six humanitarian aid organizations including the International Committee of the Red Cross and French group Doctors Without Borders have suspended work in eastern Chad after Laurent Maurice, an agronomist for the ICRC and his five Chadian colleagues were abducted near the Sudanese border. A Chadian aid worker was recently killed. Two years ago the  director of  Save the Children was killed. All of the aid compounds have been attacked and many workers have been beaten and shot.  Attacks on aid workers in eastern Chad have doubled to about 190 in the past last year. They and their compounds are targeted for their vehicles and other valuables.
The border between Darfur and Chad is completely porous but during the rainy season the rivers (wadis) fill with water, inhibiting  incursions from Sudanese militia and giving people a few months of security.  But by October, the rains have ended, the wadis are dry and the attacks resume.

In October of 2006,  I was in  in eastern Chad when some 60 villages were attacked and destroyed by janjaweed. Many people were killed, mutilated, raped and wounded. Many thousands were were displaced. If you are interested, here is a link to piece  I wrote at that time for the WSJ;  No Hopes For US  http://www.miafarrow.org/ed_072707.html

Since 2006 the aid organizations have worked in very dangerous conditions. There are the Janjaweed attacks, the incursions of Chadian rebels ( their training camps are inside Darfur and they are entirely armed and supported by the Sudanese government) and in a lawless land,   ‘banditry’ thrives.
 Today  250,000 Sudanese refugees and nearly the same number of displaced Chadians are completely dependent on humanitarian relief .  Tragically that aid is further compromised.


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