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Security Council holds emergency session as security crisis worsens in Chad

Security Council holds emergency session as security crisis worsens in Chad

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called for an immediate end to the fighting engulfing Chad as the Security Council held emergency consultations to discuss the worsening situation inside the country, where heavy fighting between Government forces and opposition groups has reached parts of the capital, N’Djamena.

Mr. Ban is “profoundly alarmed by the dangerous situation,” his spokesperson said in a statement issued at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

“He is particularly concerned at the deterioration of the serious humanitarian situation of some 285,000 refugees and 180,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), as well as host communities, in eastern Chad, where the international community is actively engaged in providing life-saving assistance.”

The statement stressed the need to end hostilities and engage in dialogue to avoid further bloodshed, and also called on all parties to the conflict to ensure the safety and security of civilians, UN staff and any other international humanitarian workers.

Mr. Ban “appeals to all countries in the region to respect the inviolability of international borders and to prevent any incursions from being launched from within their territory.”

Council members went into emergency consultations this afternoon after a request from Panama, which holds the monthly presidency of the 15-member panel. Tonight, Ambassador Ricardo Alberto Arias told journalists that the consultations have been adjourned until tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile, the senior UN official in the neighbouring war-wracked Darfur region of Sudan today voiced his deep concern, warning that the violence could spill over the border and further destabilize Darfur.

Rodolphe Adada, the UN-African Union Joint Special Representative (JSR) for Darfur, also deplored the recent spike in armed attacks against humanitarian workers operating in eastern Chad, according to a press statement issued by UNAMID, the hybrid UN-AU peacekeeping mission in Darfur.

Those attacks, particularly in the town of Guereda, led to the evacuation of most UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) staff from eastern Chad last week, ahead of the resumption in fierce fighting between Government forces and opposition groups.

“Bearing in mind the strong historical and ethnic bonds between Sudan and Chad, which share a long border, the JSR further notes that the African continent in particular and the international community in general do not wish to see another bloody conflict in the region, and urges all parties to exercise self-restraint,” the media statement said.