Thousands displaced after fresh violence hits villages in southeast Chad

The attacks took place relatively deep inside Chad, about 80 km (50 miles) from the border with Sudan.
This article was prepared after a visit to Chad in the beginning of November. "During a five hour road trip from Kerfi to Koukou and back to the base in Goz Beida, the team drove through several villages which were completely empty," says Head of Mission Martin Braaksma. "Some of the villages along the road were almost entirely burnt down."

A new wave of violence has hit civilians in remote eastern Chad not far from its increasingly tense border with Sudan's Darfur region. MSF teams in the regional town of Goz Beida are seeing several thousands of displaced people arriving from villages further south.

Thousands have also sought refuge at Habile, a displaced camp near Koukou, 45kms southeast of Goz Beida, that has already been hosting 3,500 Chadians who fled from the Chad/Darfur border region earlier this year.

According to the displaced people, dozens of villages to the south and south-east of Goz Beida have been attacked, looted and/or burnt down during the past two weeks. At least 200 people are reported to have been killed during the attacks. Up to 100 wounded arrived in Goz Beida. They are treated in the local hospital which received emergency medical supplies from MSF.

More than 1,000 displaced people have gathered in Kerfi, a village about 40kms south of the regional town of Goz Beida, and are staying there without any assistance. MSF provided first aid on arrival in Kerfi and will start a mobile clinic in the area, provided that the poor security does not further deteriorate.

"During a five hour road trip from Kerfi to Koukou and back to the base in Goz Beida, the team drove through several villages which were completely empty," says Head of Mission Martin Braaksma. "Some of the villages along the road were almost entirely burnt down."

Based on what the people in the area say, it is feared that more people have died, that many wounded remain in the affected villages without any care, and that people are still hiding in their villages for fear of being attacked. Some people who have recently returned to what remains of their homes have allegedly been killed.

The attacks took place relatively deep inside Chad, about 80 km (50 miles) from the border with Sudan. MSF is assessing more locations in the area and aims to treat and/or evacuate wounded that are presumed to being stuck there and to assist the remaining population with emergency medical care and relief items.