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New attacks in Chad, NGOs again suspend aid

(B2)Attacks by armed bandits have forced humanitarian aid NGOs to suspend humanitarian aid to displaced people in eastern Chad, says the information service of the UN Humanitarian Aid Office . NGOs such as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) and Action Against Hunger have suspended most of their activities in the regions of Dogdoré and Ade near the Sudanese border.

Some 28.000 displaced people live in Dogdoré, 8500 in Ade. MSF – which is one of the only organizations providing medical care in Dogdoré – was forced to withdraw expatriate staff. The Chadian government is blamed. It is he who “has primary responsibility for the safety of humanitarian workers,” indicates the head of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Chad, Eliane Duthoit. “I think they could do more.”

In terms of security, it is estimated that the gleaming 4x4s of NGOs are all the more eye-catching as they generally feature a “no arms” symbol prominently inside. A “real” offer of attack, a soldier explained to me, “Showing that we are not armed in this country is a sign of weakness, and therefore easy prey for bandits of all kinds”.

In 2008, there were 124 attacks against humanitarian workers and on displaced people and refugees, including carjackings and armed robberies, according to the UN. The bandits steal money, cars and equipment. Four aid workers were killed in the attacks, including the country director of Save the Children-UK.

(NGV)

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).