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Chad: New arrivals from CAR in the south

Briefing notes

Chad: New arrivals from CAR in the south

9 February 2007

A fresh wave of refugees from the Central African Republic (CAR) has crossed over the border into southern Chad in the last month fleeing a string of attacks on villages in northern part of the country. In January, some 400 refugees arrived in the border village of Bekoninga, 30 km south of Goré - the main town in south Chad.

The refugees told UNHCR they fled their villages after brutal attacks in mid-January on Paoua and Herba in the commune of Bozomom, some 300 km north-west of the capital Bangui. They also reported numerous attacks by anti-government forces on villages including Betoko, Bemal and Pougol. They told UNHCR attackers tortured and in some cases executed villagers, some women were raped and children taken for ransom. They also reported villages were burned.

Initial reports show the new refugees are a mix of Peuls as well as Arabs - the majority women and children. According to the refugees, a rebel group of more than 100 attacked the town of Paoua at dawn on January 15, leaving two dead. The previous day, 18 unidentified armed men attacked Herba leaving 11 dead and taking three children hostage. Villagers fled into the bush to escape. An estimated 200 are now making their way to the Chad border, some by truck.

We have transferred some 300 of the new arrivals from the border to the new refugee camp of Dossey, 30 km north of Goré, where UNHCR and its partners have registered them and are providing assistance.

There are 46,000 refugees from CAR in south Chad living in four UNHCR-run camps.