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Violence In Chad

More than four-hundred civilians have been killed this month in Chad. The violence is taking place in provinces bordering Sudan's western region of Darfur. In response, Chad's government has declared a state of emergency in Ouaddai, Wadi Fira, Salamat, and Chad's capital, N'Djamena.

Ron Redmond, a spokesman for the United Nations High Commissioner on Refugees, says accounts "from displaced Chadians bear a striking similarity":

"The assailants are almost always identified as being of Arab ethnicity, oftentimes known personally by victims as neighbors with who they had lived for generations. They are often well-armed, particularly with Kalashnikovs. They are on horseback, camelback, or in trucks; sometimes in military attire, sometimes in civilian dress."

U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says the attacks in Chad appear to be "a spillover" from attacks by Sudanese government- backed Janjaweed militia on civilians in Darfur:

"You see similar kinds of conflicts, similar kinds of lines being drawn. So we are watching it very closely. I think that an important part of this, although the Chad situation will have its own dynamic, there are some linkages there."

Mr. McCormack says the violence in Chad's border regions underlines the need for a strengthened force of U-N peacekeepers in neighboring Darfur:

"A big part of ensuring the stability not only in Darfur but in adjoining areas as well is to see that this international force gets into Sudan."

So far, the Sudanese government is refusing to allow U-N peacekeepers into Darfur. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack says the United States is "talking to friends and allies about that, talking to a number of Arab states about how to make that happen."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.