Friday, February 16, 2007

Genocide in Chad

The genocide of Darfur is spilling over the border into Chad as the Janjaweed pursue refugees. Without an international force to protect the refugees there is no one to stop from the Janjaweed. According to the BBC report below, Chad has the same ethnic make-up of nomadic Arab groups and black African farmers and may be prone to the same ethnic warfare.

This from the BBC:
The violence in Chad could turn into a genocide similar to that in Rwanda in 1994, the UN refugee agency has warned.

The UNHCR says the killing tactics from neighbouring Darfur in Sudan have been transported to eastern Chad in full.

More than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5m displaced since war broke out in Darfur four years ago.

Concern is now growing for the 200,000 refugees who sought shelter in eastern Chad.

The conflict in Darfur has followed them across the border with attacks by Janjaweed Arab militia on camels and horseback leaving hundreds dead and 110,000 people homeless.

The BBC's Orla Guerin in eastern Chad says at first, the Janjaweed came from Sudan; later, locals joined in - neighbour killing neighbour.

"We are seeing elements that closely resemble what we saw in Rwanda in the genocide in 1994 and I think we have an opportunity here to avoid such a tragedy from occurring again," UNHCR's Matthew Conway said.

Eastern Chad and Darfur have a similar ethnic make-up, with nomadic Arab groups and black African farmers both seeking access to land and scarce water points.

Our reporter says the violence in Chad follows the same pattern as in Darfur - mostly Arabs on camels and horseback attacking non-Arab villages.

Without an international protection force, there is no-one to stop the Janjaweed, she says. In recent days, our reporter followed the trail of the Janjaweed through the ghost villages of eastern Chad, finding torched huts and smashed pots.

She met some of their victims, including a young man stabbed in both eyes and a frail old woman, badly beaten when she dared to look for food.

The UN Security Council is preparing to discuss proposals to send a peacekeeping force to Chad but a decision is not expected immediately.
In the meantime, the world community snoozes. Read the entire BBC piece here.

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