Humanitarian Mission to AM Dam, 21 May 2009
A MINURCAT mission, including officers from Human Rights, Humanitarian, Mine Action, Gender, and Public Information, undertook on Thursday, 21 May, 2009, a mission to Am Dam to assess the humanitarian situation following recent clashes between Chadian rebels and Government forces in the area. The NGO Mine Tech also participated in the trip. The mission was escorted by the Force and MINURCAT security.
The delegation met with local authorities from Am Dam and nearby Haouich, including several village and tribal leaders. They informed that fighting between rebels and Government forces took a heavy toll on the area. Several severely damaged military vehicles, debris and soldiers' fatigues could be seen scattered around.
The Regional Administrator said 14 people, including four women and four children died as a consequence of the fighting. A building in the local hospital was slightly damaged, and the school, where over 1,000 students are enrolled remained closed due to risks posed by the presence of unexploded ordnance (UXOs). Villagers are also concerned about the presence of UXOs in their fields, preventing them from growing crops as the rainy season begins. The local hospital is short of medicine, as soldiers use available stocks to treat wounded fighters.
According to information received from the village elders, rebels arrived in Am Dam on Thursday, 7 May, at 11:30, and were intercepted, 10 minutes later, by the ANT: the Chadian National Army. Fighting lasted three hours, after which rebels retreated.
The population of Am Dam is currently estimated at 15,000.