Chad: Situation in the Lac region and impact of the Nigerian crisis Situation Report n° 24 (02/06/2017)
Ongoing military operations in Niger and Nigeria are accompanied by a resurgence of attacks and incursions of armed elements, leading to protection incidents.
A significant increase in cases of genderbased violence (GBV) reported by partners was observed in April.
US $ 3.5 million were allocated by the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for a rapid response to the urgent needs of 40,000 people in the island areas and villages south of Bol.
Approximately 10 per cent of the needs of the local population are not yet covered for the next lean season due to lack of funding.
Ongoing military operations in Niger and Nigeria are accompanied by a resurgence of attacks and incursions of armed elements reported in the northern and southern basins of the Lac region in April and May. On May 5, an attack by an armed group on a military position in Kaiga Kindjiria reportedly resulted in the deaths of nine Chadian soldiers and about 40 alleged members of the armed group. Four civilians were reportedly killed, more than 50 houses were burned, and 700 people reportedly displaced following the incident. More recently, on 26 and 27 May, several attacks were reported in Tchoukoutalia area, in the villages of Konguia, Wangui and Kagrerom. Similar attacks have regularly been reported in recent weeks, and include the killing and kidnapping of civilians, the destruction of huts, and looting of livestock. On 13 May, elements of an armed group allegedly attempted to steal cattle in Toumou Dlea village, less than 2 km away from Boma, but failed following the intervention of the military. On 24 April, an attack by two armed persons against a village 2.5 km away from Kaiga Kindjiria was reported, allegedly causing one death and two wounded. On 7 April, incursions of armed elements were reported in three villages in Kangalom island areas, causing, in particular, the burning of a hut. On April 12, six herders and their 1,400 cattle heads were reportedly abducted near the border between Nigeria, Niger and Chad in Kaiga Kindjiria sub-prefecture. In this context, local populations have a feeling of insecurity, exacerbated by the security vacuums created by the deployments and movements of the defense and security forces to military operations areas. This context also affects the implementation of humanitarian activities and reduces humanitarian access, already poor in Tchoukoutalia and Kaiga areas.
April was marked by a significant increase in protection incidents and cases of gender-based violence (GBV) reported by partners. This is associated with the multiplication of awareness-raising sessions and the improved functioning of data collection and reporting systems, but also underlines a negative trend for the protection and safety of populations, associated with the strong militarization of displacement areas and the weak presence of the State in displacement locations.
Small-scale waves of alleged surrenders are still being reported in border areas. According to local authorities, as of 30 May 2017, 1,232 people having allegedly surrendered were registered. The last wave dates back to 27 May, when 19 people including 10 children (3 girls and 7 boys) coming from Nigeria reportedly presented themselves to military actors in Kaiga Kindjiria. Currently, there is no specific site for them to transit through. Instead, they are being transferred back to their areas of origin, without systematic access by humanitarians, even though some of them may require special attention (such as psychosocial support, health,etc.). Sharing of information between military actors and humanitarian actors remains weak, both in terms of the number of people having allegedly surrendered and the conditions for their reintegration. The different assessment missions carried out in January and February 2017 by humanitarian organizations to analyze the return conditions of people having allegedly surrendered in their areas of origin have nevertheless stressed that certain cases require specific assistance. Moreover, lack of support may jeopardize their reintegration in their communities, and their subsistence. The lack of opportunities and livelihoods may push them to adopt negative survival strategies, illegal practices, or even to return to the armed group. Some sources reported that people having allegedly surrendered were moving towards Niger or Nigeria. This situation illustrates the importance to clearly define an official status determination, reintegration and monitoring process for these persons who are potentially vulnerable but could also represent a protection risk for the communities. This is a measure the humanitarian community has been advocating for since mid-2016.
In addition, since mid-February, around 225 households who claim to have surrendered have been identified in a displacement site through an assessment carried out by humanitarian organizations. Verification by administrative authorities confirms that some of them were previously held by the Government. The main reason for their presence on this displacement site is the fear of retaliation by an armed group in their villages of origin in the island areas, where security measures to guarantee the protection of civilians are deemed insufficient because of the absence or weak presence of security forces. These people find themselves alongside other displaced people and live in similar precarious conditions. There are currently no protection or security mechanisms in displacement sites, which therefore remain exposed to protection risks.
A suspected case of hepatitis E was identified on 24 May by MSF in Diamerom site and then referred to Baga Sola hospital. The rapid test conducted by MSF was positive, but a blood sample was sent to a laboratory for confirmation. A hepatitis E epidemic, officially declared on 14 February 2017, has been ongoing since September 2016 in Salamat region, where more than 1,400 cases, including 17 deaths, have been reported. A hepatitis E epidemic was also declared on 19 April in Diffa region in Niger, where more than 700 cases have been registered.
In this context, it is important to strengthen active surveillance, capacities and community sensitizations and to adopt a cross-border approach.
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