Chad: 1,000 arrivals from Central African Republic since late December
Some 1,000 refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR), mainly women and children, have arrived in southern Chad since late December, fleeing what they called rebel attacks in the northern part of their country. The refugees arrived in Bekoninga, a village 35 km from Goré, the main town in southern Chad. They left their villages in northern CAR, including Bémal, Markounda, Bossangoa, Bedam and Bekoto, and crossed the border at Kaba. The new refugees told UNHCR teams on the ground that they fled increasing insecurity in northern CAR, including repeated attacks by armed groups, summary executions, house burnings, and violent search operations conducted by the CAR military in their villages. They complained of victimisation by all sides in increasingly lawless northern CAR. Some reported their children were kidnapped and ransoms demanded.
Joint UNHCR and Chadian border monitoring missions verified the presence of the refugees and the new arrivals were registered last week. A first group of 516 refugees (98 families) was relocated yesterday to Gondjé refugee camp, 13 km from Goré and 48 km from the border. Gondjé in now hosting more than 3,000 people from CAR. About 500 refugees remain at the border. UNHCR is scheduled to relocate them next week. While the health situation of the refugees is not alarming, UNHCR and MSF Holland found that some of the children are malnourished.
Refugees are still crossing from CAR to Chad in small groups. Northern CAR remains exposed to frequent attacks from various armed groups, as well as from looters or "coupeurs de route." Since June 2005, more than 11,000 refugees from CAR have crossed over to South Chad because of the ongoing insecure situation.
In all, more than 43,000 CAR refugees are hosted in three refugee sites at Yaroungou, Amboko and Gondjé in southern Chad. Most of them came in 2003. UNHCR is also taking care of more than 200,000 refugees from Darfur in 12 refugee camps in eastern Chad.