Home | News    Friday 30 September 2005

Sudan Janjaweed militia accused of deadly attack in Chad

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Sept 29, 2005 (MADAYOUN, Chad) — The bloody conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region spread across the border to Chad this week when some 75 people, mostly civilians, were killed in an attack on a village by the Sudanese ethnic Arab militia known as the Janjaweed, authorities and witnesses said Thursday.

Chadian soldiers guard the border with Sudan. (AFP/file).

A Chadian officer in Madayoun, a village about 800 kilometers (500 miles) east of Ndjamena, told AFP that 55 village herdsmen were killed in the assault on Monday, along with 17 attackers and three Chadian troops, raising the previous overall toll of 56 dead.

The country’s president, Idriss Deby, blamed the Janjaweed, which have been widely condemned by human rights groups for atrocities against civilians.

The Janjaweed militia has fought alongside the Sudanese government forces against the mostly ethnic African rebels in Darfur who have claimed discrimination by Khartoum.

"We are absolutely certain that it was the Janjaweed," said Deby in an interview with Radio France internationale (RFI) while on a private visit to Paris.

Eastern Chad borders on the Darfur region of Sudan, where as many as 300,000 people have been killed and more than a million displaced since rebels rose up in February 2003.

Chadian soldiers and residents in Madayoun also pointed to the Janjaweed, which have made incursions before into Chad as many of Darfur’s African refugees have fled to the neighboring country.

"It was without a doubt the Janjaweed," said a Chadian soldier who was there during Monday’s attack. "As soon as we heard the gunshots, we went to the village and we came across the Janjaweed who opened fire on us," he said.

"We have been subjected to attacks by the Janjaweed for years," said one villager, Omar Osman Nassur, confirming the other reports. "We can no longer put up with the situation," he added.

The Chadian forces Thursday detained six of the attackers, each carrying identification cards stating "armed militia" in Arabic, as seen by an AFP journalist.

The Chadian military sources also said the Janjaweed tried to launch another attack near Madayoun late Wednesday, firing off several rounds of automatic weapons, but then quickly retreated.

The Chadian army had already faced many violent incursions by the Janjaweed in the region, up to the deployment of 200 French soldiers to the region in mid-2004 to monitor the border between Chad and Sudan.

One observer in the Chadian capital urged caution, telling AFP he could not label the assailants as definitely Janjaweed.

The number of civilians killed "gives the impression that it was more a pillaging (of the village) than a military operation," said the observer who asked not to be identified.

(AFP/ST)

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