Thursday, February 01, 2007

More Darfur spillover in eastern Chad (Amnesty International)

[Via Mick Hartley --Jeff Weintraub]

January 31, 2007
From Eastern Chad

Amnesty International, on Chad:

Homes ablaze. Villagers slaughtered. Women and girls raped. Survivors scattered in terror. Civilians in eastern Chad are sharing the cruel fate of their neighbours in Darfur, hostages to Sudan’s ruthless solution to rebel attacks in the region. The Janjawid militias who in recent years have laid to waste vast areas of western Sudan, form the backbone of the armed groups who are killing, tormenting and displacing civilians from targeted ethnic groups such as the Dajo and the Masalit in eastern Chad. The aim of the attacks appears to be to clear vast areas of communities primarily identified by the Janjawid as "African" rather than "Arab", and to drive them further from the border with Sudan.

In Darfur, since 2003, the Sudanese government continues to use its proxy militia, the Janjawid to terrorize, kill and forcibly displace civilians perceived to be the support base of the armed opposition movements. The government funds and arms the Janjawid, who are notorious for their cruelty and ferocity. Janjawid operations, in coordination with the Sudanese army and air force, deliberately target and attack particular ethnic groups and drive them from their villages. These attacks continue notwithstanding the presence of African Union peacekeeping troops....

Now, in eastern Chad too, a similar dynamic is evolving. Sudanese Janjawid and their local Chadian allies are plundering and killing with impunity. There are over 90 000 internally displaced people sheltering in settlements in eastern Chad and at least 15,000 who have fled Chad for the fragile safety of refugee camps in Darfur. Amnesty International found on two visits to the Dar Silah region in May and in November/December 2006 that targeted ethnic groups have been dispersed by repeated cross-border attacks since 2005. Attacks on Chadian civilians have increased as relations between Chad and Sudan worsen, armed Chadian opposition groups become more active, and Darfuri armed opposition groups increase their presence in Chad. Both the Sudan and Chad governments are taking advantage of conflict between different ethnic Chadian communities over access to land, water, livestock and other resources by arming them and using them to attack targeted civilian groups. However, generally groups perceived as "African" remain disproportionately affected by the violence.

This report documents evidence of the deliberate and targeted killing of communities, the rape and other crimes of violence against women, and the destruction of homes and civilian property in eastern Chad....