Despite increasing escalating insecurity on Chad's Eastern border, new refugees continue to arrive from Sudan's war -affected troubled Darfur region, settling in a series of makeshift camps along the border.
Access to water has been severely restricted by gunmen who fire on the refugees when they seek water in the riverbed and wells. Although some of these attacks are aimed at cattle theft, it is increasingly clear that many are aimed at intimidating and threatening refugees. Two weeks ago, near Adre, one refugee was killed and three more were injured by bullet wounds. These attacks also leave behind increasing numbers of unexploded ordnance.
Efforts to relocate refugees from the insecure border area have been ongoing for nearly two months, but have been beset by difficulties in obtaining water at the new locations - a chronic problem in this desert region. To date, less than 10% of the refugees estimated to be living on the border have been relocated.
Of even greater concern are reports that there are more people seeking to flee Darfur, who are not allowed to leave. Although commercial traffic continues to take place across the border, refugees increasingly report that the border has been sealed to them in order to prevent their flight.
"It is not safe here. When we go to the waddi (riverbed) to get water, we are very often assaulted and there are shootings. This morning even, we heard some shootings. It is always like this. Those gunshots are to frighten the refugees and to prevent them from crossing the border."
Refugee man in Chad
"I did not take the shortest way to come to Chad, but each time the roads were blocked Ã? and we could not cross. To cross the border, we stayed hidden in the dark, in the bushes. We could cross when it was quiet. I was very afraid, especially with my children. Here in Chad, I feel a bit better than in Sudan".
Refugee woman in Chad