UNHCR condemns killing of government partner in eastern Chad

News Stories, 27 October 2009

© UNHCR/H.Caux
Young refugees from Sudan's Darfur region at a camp in eastern Chad, where refugee official Michel Mitna was killed.

GENEVA, October 27 (UNHCR) The UN refugee agency on Tuesday expressed shock at the ambush and killing of a Chadian official working for UNHCR's government counterpart in the volatile east of the country. Michel Mitna, head of the Guereda office of Chad's national refugee commission, was shot dead by bandits on Saturday.

Mitna worked daily with UNHCR to protect and assist refugees and internally displaced people in camps near the dusty town of Guereda. He was about 110 kilometres north-east of Abeche, the main town in eastern Chad, when his clearly marked vehicle was attacked. His driver was injured and the unidentified gunmen managed to escape.

The 40-year-old Mitna leaves behind a wife and five children. He had worked in eastern Chad for the Commission National d'Accueil et de Réinsertion des Réfugiés (CNAR) for six years. As a mark of solidarity and condolence, UNHCR staff in Guereda did not work on Monday.

"UNHCR is deeply shocked and saddened by this tragic killing," UNHCR spokesman Andrej Mahecic told journalists in Geneva on Tuesday. "This is the 51st armed attack on a humanitarian vehicle in eastern Chad this year alone, 31 of which belonged to UNHCR and its partners," he added.

Last week, five staff working for Première Urgence, a French NGO that works with UNHCR in Farchana Camp, were kidnapped while travelling in convoy. The bandits only freed the staff when their hijacked vehicle was involved in an accident. Two of the five aid workers are still in hospital.

Humanitarian workers in eastern Chad constantly face security threats while working to alleviate the plight of tens of thousands of civilians who fled generalized violence and conflict. Armed banditry is the greatest security threat for aid workers in this area neighbouring the Darfur region of Sudan.

In spite of the security constraints, UNHCR has been working with CNAR and many international humanitarian agencies in eastern Chad to assist some 250,000 Sudanese refugees in 12 camps since 2003, as well as 160,000 internally displaced Chadians since 2006.

• DONATE NOW •

 

• GET INVOLVED • • STAY INFORMED •

UNHCR country pages

Related Internet Links

UNHCR is not responsible for the content and availability of external internet sites

Crisis in the Central African Republic

Little has been reported about the humanitarian crisis in the northern part of the Central African Republic (CAR), where at least 295,000 people have been forced out of their homes since mid-2005. An estimated 197,000 are internally displaced, while 98,000 have fled to Chad, Cameroon or Sudan. They are the victims of fighting between rebel groups and government forces.

Many of the internally displaced live in the bush close to their villages. They build shelters from hay, grow vegetables and even start bush schools for their children. But access to clean water and health care remains a huge problem. Many children suffer from diarrhoea and malaria but their parents are too scared to take them to hospitals or clinics for treatment.

Cattle herders in northern CAR are menaced by the zaraguina, bandits who kidnap children for ransom. The villagers must sell off their livestock to pay.

Posted on 21 February 2008

Crisis in the Central African Republic

Battling the Elements in Chad

More than 180,000 Sudanese refugees have fled violence in Sudan's Darfur region, crossing the border to the remote desert of eastern Chad.

It is one of the most inhospitable environments UNHCR has ever had to work in. Vast distances, extremely poor road conditions, scorching daytime temperatures, sandstorms, the scarcity of vegetation and firewood, and severe shortages of drinkable water have been major challenges since the beginning of the operation. Now, heavy seasonal rains are falling, cutting off the few usable roads, flooding areas where refugees had set up makeshift shelters, and delaying the delivery of relief supplies.

Despite the enormous environmental challenges, UNHCR has so far managed to establish nine camps and relocate the vast majority of the refugees who are willing to move from the volatile border.

Battling the Elements in Chad

Chad: Relocation from the Border to Refugee Camps

Since fighting broke out in Sudan's western region of Darfur last year, more than 110,000 Sudanese refugees have fled into Chad. They are scattered along a 600-km stretch of desert borderland under a scorching sun during the day and freezing temperatures during the night.

Access to these refugees in this inhospitable region is difficult. Staff of the UN refugee agency drive for days to locate them. Bombing in the border zone and cross-border raids by militia from Sudan put the refugees at risk and underscore the urgent need to move them to camps in the interior. In addition, the approach of the rainy season in May will make the sandy roads impassable. Aid workers are racing against time in an attempt bring emergency relief to these refugees.

Chad: Relocation from the Border to Refugee Camps

South Sudan: Food Security Play video

South Sudan: Food Security

Jacob is plowing 20 kilometers far from his own home town, Bor, after having to abandon it due to the ongoing fighting in South Sudan. Now in Mingkaman camp,as a displaced person, this land he plows is all he has after losing farm and cattle back home
Canada: Light Years Ahead
Play video

Canada: Light Years Ahead

With help from the Government of Canada, lives of refugees in Chad and Ethiopia have been transformed through the Light Years Ahead project.
Syrian Refugees: Desperate in LampedusaPlay video

Syrian Refugees: Desperate in Lampedusa

In the past year, more than 13,000 people have arrived by boat in Italy's Lampedusa Island on irregular migration routes. Many have died attempting the crossing. Young men from sub-Saharan Africa mix with families from Syria. All share the same dream - starting afresh in the security and stability of Europe.