Chad: UN has now relocated 10,000 Sudanese refugees to safe camps

12 March 2004

As sometimes-fatal militia attacks continue along the desolate border between Chad and Sudan, the United Nations refugee agency has relocated more than 10,000 Sudanese refugees further inland.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is hoping to move as many of the estimated 110,000 refugees as it can away from the border and into safe camps inside Chad before the expected arrival of the rainy season in late May.

UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond told reporters today at the agency's headquarters in Geneva today that 10,491 people have taken shelter in camps at Farchana, Touloum and Kounoungo since relocations began early last month.

But Mr. Redmond said the cross-border raids by militias on the refugees' makeshift shelters have become an almost daily event over the same period. In one attack last Sunday a refugee was killed when 35 armed men stole cattle from a group of refugees.

Mr. Redmond said UNHCR staff are increasing convoys to Farchana and are also looking at establishing camps at three other sites within the next 10 days.

Sudanese refugees have been crossing the border into Chad for a year since fighting broke out in the Darfur region in Sudan's west between the Sudanese Government, the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and militia groups.


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