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CHAD: Aid resumes as conflict abates

NDJAMENA , 19 June 2008 (IRIN) - The UN refugee agency, UNHCR resumed its humanitarian operations in all 12 refugee camps along Chad’s eastern border with Sudan on 17 June as conflict abated in the east.

“It appears that the situation is returning to normal, and so we are going back to the camps,” said Annette Rehrl, spokesperson for UNHCR.

Calm was restored as the Chadian government claimed victory on 17 June following fighting with rebels in Am Zoer, a town 89km northeast of Abeche, which left 161 rebels and three government soldiers dead according to Chadian military spokesperson Mahamat Hassan Abakar, speaking on the radio on 17 June. These figures have not been confirmed by rebel leaders.

Abakar said the army had seized 61 vehicles, as well as weapons and ammunition, during the fighting. According to a journalist in Am Zoer, dead bodies and burned vehicles can still be seen on the town’s streets.

“It is the end of the Sudanese adventure,” said governor of Ouaddai region, Bichara Issa Djadallah, echoing Chadian government accusations – denied by Sudan – that its eastern neighbour is behind the attacks. According to government sources, rebels are now scattered across the area and some have returned to Sudan.

Rebel columns entered eastern Chad on 13 June, and attempted to take the towns of Goz Beida, Am-Dam, and Biltine. Rebels commanders told journalists that their objective was the capital N’djamena, which rebels also attacked in February.

Major General Touka Ramadan Korei, commander of operations for the Chadian army, announced on the radio, “the intention of the mercenaries was to attack Abeche, but they fell into our trap.”

In Abeche people are now going about their daily business. “The market is teeming with people as usual,” said one resident.

“Chad is very volatile and it’s very difficult to predict what may happen next here,” UNHCR’s Rehrl said.

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Theme(s): (IRIN) Conflict, (IRIN) Refugees/IDPs

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Copyright © IRIN 2008
This material comes to you via IRIN, the humanitarian news and analysis service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the United Nations or its Member States.
IRIN is a project of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.



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