UN officials say fighting in eastern Chad near the town of Adre has left about 12 civilians dead and another 40 wounded. Fighting between government forces and rebels was also reported in Farchana. The growing insecurity in eastern Chad continues to affect humanitarian operations.
Matthew Conway is a spokesperson for the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR. From the town of Abeche, he spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about how the agency’s operations have been hampered.
“Our teams were prevented from going out to the (refugee) camps yesterday because of the fighting, which was about 55 kilometers from our base in Farchana,” he says.
Conway describes the agency’s access to refugees and the displaced. “We’ve had decent access, but it’s been limited on many occasions because of insecurity. The situation varies from region to region. There are areas where we have access most of the time. There are other areas where it’s very much a day-by-day situation. We need to check with local authorities to see if the roads are clear. And in certain cases we need to travel with armed escorts for the protection of our staff, our materials and our vehicles,” Conway says.
Thursday, in Goz Beda, a government convoy of four trucks carrying aid supplies was attacked and robbed by armed men on horseback. Insecurity is also a problem near Guereda due to violence between the Tama and Zaghawa peoples. That could threaten UNHCR aid to the nearby Kounoungou and Mile refugee camps, which are home to nearly 30,000 Sudanese refugees. In all, there are 230,000 Sudanese refugees in Chad, plus 110,000 displaced Chadians. In southern Chad, there are 46,000 refugees from the Central African Republic.