Sudanese Conflict Spills Into Chad

Wed Feb. 22, 2006 8:09 PM EST

The ethnic cleansing in Darfur has gone on since 2003, forcing two million people to abandon their homes and seek refuge in neighboring countries. As the violence rages, tens of thousands of displaced citizens have taken refuge in bordering Chad, and bringing with them the threat of insurgency. According to a new Human Rights Watch report, Chadian rebel groups have support from the Sudanese government to launch aggressive attacks in Eastern Chad.

The report, Darfur Bleeds: Recent Cross-Border Violence in Chad, is based on investigations conducted over the last two months in response to the spillover conflict that is now destroying neighboring Chad. 30,000 Chadians have abandoned their homes along the Chad/Sudan border in response to recent attacks, which include the mass destruction of villages, killing civilians and looting cattle, all apparently carried out in according with ethnic motives.

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According to Peter Takirambudde, executive director of the Africa division at Human Rights Watch, Sudan's policy of arming militias and letting them loose is spilling over the border, and civilians have no protection from their attacks, in Darfur or in Chad. Kaloy, a border village with a pre-conflict population of 1,904, now claims more than 10,000 individuals from 26 border villages, and has grown increasingly dangerous as the raids have followed settlers, overrunning the parameters of the village.

While the number of attacks continues to climb, the U.S. has calledfor UN peacekeeping troops to take over responsibility for the region from the African Union. (Today the Sudanese government rejected this proposal.) And President Bush has already attracted attention by calling French president Jacques Chirac raising "his concern about the deteriorating situation in Darfur and his view that NATO should be more actively involved in a robust international response to this crisis, and doubling the number of peacekeepers already there."

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