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Darfur: UNHCR field office attacked in far west

Briefing notes

Darfur: UNHCR field office attacked in far west

13 June 2006

We are concerned about the security situation in Habila, in far western Darfur, after an attack last night by four armed men in military uniform on our field office, leaving one guard wounded after being shot in the leg. He is in a stable condition and has been discharged after being treated at an NGO clinic in Habila. Details are still sketchy, but it seems that around 21:00 hours local time, four men forced their way into the compound, shot the guard, stole communications equipment, asked one of the staff for money, then left. Police were called in to provide protection for the compound. No other staff members were hurt in the incident. Previously, this area has been calm.

Habila is about 95 km south of the West Darfur capital of El Geneina. In mid-May, UNHCR started moving Chadian refugees, who had taken refuge in the area after fleeing military and bandit activity along the border between Chad and Sudan, to a new refugee camp 60 km away at Um Shalaya. Some 3,000 of the estimated 5,000 people at the Habila site have now been moved. The remaining refugees have preferred to remain in the area, staying with relatives or fellow tribe members. Over recent weeks, a further 50 refugees have arrived from the insecure border area in Chad and have told us they wish to be moved to the new camp, which has good drinking water and a health clinic. We are currently making arrangements to move them to Um Shalaya. UNHCR has seven staff in Habila, and around 75 in West Darfur.