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Chadians Seek Safety in Darfur Refugee Camp

The UN refugee agency is helping to relocate Chadian refugees, who have actually sought refuge in neighboring Darfur, a region beset by much violence against civilians, including genocide according the United States. Conditions along both sides of the Chad/Sudan border have become extremely dangerous with militias attacking villages.

Helene Caux is a spokesperson for the UNHCR. From Geneva, she spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about the Chadians in Darfur.

“There are approximately 20,000 Chadian refugees in West Darfur. They started to cross from Chad at the end of 2005 following the degradation of the security situation there. Following different fighting, especially in the border town of Adre. And there was a lot of inter-communal fighting in 2006. In short, the whole security situation in eastern Chad, especially in southeastern Chad, has been degrading for the past year.

“You have so many armed movements, armed groups in eastern Chad at this point, that the situation has become quite chaotic and more and more dangerous for the local population. So 20,000 Chadians have crossed over to Darfur, which sounds quite unreal considering Darfur itself is a very unsafe location, ” she says.

The UNHCR is relocating hundreds of the Chadians away from the border area. Caux says, “In the past month they decided they wanted to be moved to a UNHCR refugee camp, Um Shalaya refugee camp, in West Darfur where they think they will be more protected and will have access to more assistance.”