Attacks leave Chadians facing dire conditions

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Displaced people from the Lake Chad region need urgent humanitarian help, according to the UN Refugee Agency. Photo: UNHCR/Ahmed Bahaddou

Tens of thousands of people displaced by fighting in Chad are living in a "war zone" after a double suicide attack at the weekend that left at least 47 dead and dozens injured, the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, said Tuesday.

According to UNHCR, Saturday's attack was carried out by women and children and was the first to hit the western town of Baga Sola.

It's been linked to Nigerian extremists Boko Haram, and came a day before more female suicide bombers killed nine people in neighbouring Cameroon.

Daniel Johnson has more.

According to the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, the suicide bombers responsible for the attacks were three women and two children.

They targeted the market in the west Chadian town of Baga Sola on Saturday afternoon, but also a camp for internally displaced civilians at Kousseri, run by the UN Refugee Agency.

At least 47 people died in the twin assaults.

UNHCR spokesperson Leo Dobbs said that the Baga Sola attacks highlighted the vulnerability and isolation of displaced communities in the Lake Chad region.

"These people are living in desperate conditions, they lack livelihoods, they lack shelter, they lack food, they lack healthcare…so the kind of work that UNHCR and its partners have been doing in what's become effectively a war zone is very important."

Some 60,000 Chadians in the lake area are said to be in dire need of humanitarian aid.

Until recently, they lived by Lake Chad, or on its islands.

But they've been encouraged to relocate by the Chadian authorities who've been preparing for an offensive against Boko Haram separatists, originally from Nigeria.

UNHCR said it welcomed efforts by Chad to step up security to tens of thousands of displaced people in the wake of the suicide attacks.

The country currently hosts more than 430,000 refugees, including 350,000 from Sudan, 90,000 from Central African Republic and 13,000 from Nigeria.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 1’13″



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