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Explosions Strike Chadian Border Town, Killing Two

UN Refugee Agency Says Explosions Strike Chadian Border Town, Killing Two

A series of explosions - probably from aerial bombings - near a Chadian border town yesterday has killed at least two people, wounded 15 others and forced aid workers to relocate hundreds of Sudanese refugees, the United Nations refugee agency reported today.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees ( http://www.unhcr.ch UNHCR) said local authorities in Tine, a Chadian town close to Sudan's war-torn Darfur region, informed them that seven explosions rocked an area just outside the area where Sudanese refugees had been gathering.

The blasts killed a 28-year-old man and his two-year-old daughter. Two of the wounded, who both have serious injuries, are being treated at a hospital in Tine.

UNHCR staff registering refugees in the area moved into Tine before the explosions when they were told of rising tensions. The refugees and all but two of the UNHCR team have since been moved away from Tine.

An estimated 113,000 Sudanese refugees have crossed the border near towns such as Tine since early last year when fighting broke out in Darfur between forces loyal to the Sudanese Government and the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA).

Many of the refugees have been reporting attacks - including aerial bombings - on their villages in Sudan. The refugees have also suffered from cross-border raids on their makeshift shelters by militias in Chad's barren east.

UNHCR staff had been registering refugees near Tine and two other sites since Sunday. The agency is attempting to transfer many of the refugees to newly constructed, safer camps further inside Chad.

The blasts have occurred as the UN's most senior human rights envoy expressed his deep concern about the "deteriorating human rights and humanitarian situation in Darfur."

In a statement issued today, Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights Bertrand Ramcharan cited reports of systematic human rights abuses of unarmed civilians as well as the burning and looting of villages.

Mr. Ramcharan urged the parties to the Darfur conflict to stop the violence and allow humanitarian workers full access to civilians. He also said they should back an independent inquiry to assess the situation in Darfur.

Mr. Ramcharan called on Khartoum to investigate reported atrocities by militias in Darfur and punish anyone found responsible, and to let a fact-finding team from the Commission on Human Rights visit Sudan.

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