Aerial bombings hit Chadian border hosting Sudanese refugees
TINE, Chad, Jan 29 (UNHCR) - A series of explosions, apparently from aerial bombings, struck areas around the Chadian town of Tine on the border with Sudan, leaving at least two persons dead and 15 others wounded and prompting aid workers to relocate hundreds of Sudanese refugees in the area.
Local Chadian authorities told a UNHCR team in Tine that seven explosions rocked the Red Hill area, just outside Tine where Sudanese refugees have been gathering after fleeing bombings and militia attacks across the border in Sudan.
A 28-year-old man and his 2-year-old child were killed in the blasts. The 15 wounded included Sudanese refugees and local residents of Tine. Two of them sustained serious injuries and were being operated on at the MSF-Belgium hospital in Tine.
A UNHCR team was registering refugees in Tine 2, a refugee site located right at the border with Sudan, when it was told that tension was mounting. The team withdrew farther inland into the city before explosions were heard on the Sudanese side. They were later told about the blasts at Red Hill. Two staff members remained in Tine, but the rest of the UNHCR team were being relocated.
The team has been in Tine since Sunday to register Sudanese refugees before providing them with emergency assistance. So far, the team has registered 1,045 Sudanese - part of the 18,000 new arrivals from Sudan over the past several weeks. Late last year, Chadian authorities said some 95,000 Sudanese had fled into Chad since civil conflict erupted in Sudan's western region of Darfur.
Thursday's bombings underscore the urgency of a UNHCR emergency relocation of refugees in the Tine area of Chad to a safer place farther inland. Registration of refugees has been made in two other places in the remote areas of Chad's 600-km desert region where the refugees are scattered.
The recent refugee arrivals had earlier told UNHCR that aircraft bombed a well in the Sudanese village of Habila two weeks ago, and that armed men later entered the village on horses and camels, stole cattle and chased people away. Residents of other nearby villages left for Chad.