AI Index: AFR 20/012/2006 (Public)
News Service No: 272
20 October 2006
Chad: Thousands flee Janjawid attacks
Amnesty International today called on the Chadian government to deploy immediately along the border with Sudan to protect civilians from Janjawid attacks taking place in eastern Chad.
"Again civilians are being targeted by Janjawid, again the Chadian army is failing to protect them -- and the international community has not even begun to implement the Chad components of a UN Security Council resolution passed six weeks ago," said Kate Gilmore, Executive Deputy Secretary General of Amnesty International.
"These attacks against civilians in Chad show us yet again how urgent the need is for an immediate deployment of UN peacekeepers in Sudan not only to stop attacks against people in Darfur but also to stop cross-border attacks into Chad."
Amnesty International called for the establishment of a UN presence in key locations in Chad and the deployment of UN forces in Darfur to monitor transborder activities of armed groups along the Sudanese border, as called for by UN Security Council Resolution 1706, adopted on 17 September.
According to information obtained by the organization, the new wave of attacks across the Chad/Sudan border started on 3 October and have continued since then.
Dozens of people have been killed and some 3,000 have fled in the past week -- some from villages that have been attacked, others from villages they fear will be attacked. One UNHCR camp housing 3,500 Chadians displaced in Habile has already reached its maximum capacity, with further attacks expected.
Over the last ten days, close to a dozen villages in eastern Chad have been attacked, with at least forty people killed -- including an imam and his four sons in Tamadjour on 15 October. In one attack in Marmadingue in Koloy canton, men on horseback attacked villagers working in their fields, killing 22 men and one woman.
Fleeing villagers described the attackers as Janjawid wearing Sudanese army uniforms.
As this is the period of harvest, many displaced are venturing back to their villages to attempt to harvest their crops -- leaving them vulnerable to further attacks.
"We warned that these attacks were likely to resume once the rainy season ended, and now they have started, as we predicted," said Kate Gilmore. "These attacks could have been avoided if the Chadian government and the international community had listened to earlier warnings and acted in advance to protect civilians in eastern Chad."
"The Chadian government now needs to ensure that its army patrols the area and monitors the border closely to stop further attacks."
For more information please call Amnesty International's press office in London, UK, on +44 20 7413 5566
Amnesty International, 1 Easton St., London WC1X 0DW. web: http://www.amnesty.org
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