Wednesday, June 14, 2006
GENEVA, Switzerland (Reuters) -- Cross-border attacks on Chadian villagers by Janjaweed militia from Sudan's Darfur region have become more systematic and deadly, the United Nations' refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Tuesday.
The UNHCR urged both countries to step up security along the porous border, saying the raids were swelling the number of Chadians fleeing their homes and posed a threat to more than 200,000 Darfuris who had sought refuge in Chad.
"UNHCR is extremely concerned about continuing attacks by Janjaweed militia in eastern Chad," the High Commissioner for Refugees said in a statement.
On Saturday, armed militiamen stole 350 head of cattle from a village in the Goz Beida region of eastern Chad in the latest attack.
Although nobody was reported hurt in that case, dozens of people have been killed in recent weeks, with the most violent incident occurring in mid-April when more than 100 men were massacred in Djawara, some 60 km (40 miles) from the border.
According to reports by local people, the militias were sometimes joined in their attacks by Chadians from other tribes, the agency said.
"The Janjaweed attacks against Chadians appear to have become more systematic and deadly over the past three months and there is no sign that this pattern will stop," the UNHCR said.
Some 50,000 Chadians have already been forced to abandon their homes, adding to the humanitarian problem of caring for 213,000 Sudanese who have fled Darfur for UNHCR-run camps on the Chad side of the frontier.
Chadian President Idriss Deby accuses Sudan of exporting Darfur's ethnic strife in a drive to spread Arab control and Islam across sub-Saharan Africa.
But Khartoum says Deby is merely trying to deflect attention from his problems with local rebels.
The Janjaweed are blamed for a three-year campaign of rape, looting and murder against non-Arabs in Darfur, where tens of thousands have died and over 2 million driven from their homes.