The government of Chad has declared a state of emergency, fearing that violence from the Sudanese region of Darfur will spill over its border. Aid officials say 30 locals were killed and dozens more injured in the village of Sirba when armed men swept through on horseback. The settlement is very close to the border with Chad. Insurgency in eastern Chad is already a problem for the government of President Idriss Deby. Deby accuses Sudan of backing rebels who attacked the capital, N’Djamena, in April, in a bid to topple him.
Khartoum has denied this, along with any involvement with the Janjaweed militia. However, Chadian officials also claim that Sudanese Arab militia are provoking clashes between Arab and non-Arab Chadians during frequent cross border raids. The UN has just offered around 60 million euros to help the hard-pressed African Union peacekeepers in Darfur. Sudan claims the scale of the problem has been exaggerated for political reasons.
But aid organisations have labelled the situation in the region the world’s worst humanitarian disaster, with at least 200,000 dead and two million displaced.