Among Darfur Rebels and Refugees: A Road Diary (Day 17)

Among Darfur Rebels and Refugees: A Road Diary (Day 17)

Editor's Note: In March, Kurt Pelda, Africa Bureau Chief of the Swiss daily the Neue Zürcher Zeitung, traveled to eastern Chad on the border with the Sudanese crisis region of Darfur. Over 200,000 Sudanese refugees live in eastern Chad, having fled the violence in Darfur. The region likewise serves as staging grounds for the Darfur rebels fighting against the Sudanese government. During his three weeks traveling in the region, Pelda kept a diary, which provides a portrait of the Darfur conflict that is perhaps unrivaled in its detail and nuance. In daily installments through the beginning of August, World Politics Review presents this important document for the first time in English, concluding with an epilogue penned by Pelda exclusively for WPR. Read other entries.

Day 17: Finally a Straight Answer
A Demonstration of Chadian Technology

15 March

The deadline that I have set for myself is tomorrow. If we have not managed finally to get over the border into Sudan by then, Adam and I will leave this desert backwater and begin our trip back to N'Djamena. Adam goes to the market to meet his friends. He hears from them that the rebel chiefs for whom we have been waiting finally arrived in Bahay last night. This bit of information gives us hope -- but it turns out to be false. A little while later, I receive a telephone call from Sharif, one of the political leaders of the Darfur rebellion. Sharif is still in Abéché. He is there with Ahmed, who evidently does not think it necessary to keep us posted. The car still has to be repaired, Sharif explains. The rebel leadership is struggling with so many problems that it will be several days before it is possible to cross the border. In plain English, this means that we should count on waiting in Bahay for at least another week.

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