In March, Kurt Pelda, Africa Bureau Chief of the Swiss daily the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), traveled to eastern Chad on the border with the Sudanese crisis region of Darfur: a trip that was documented in a diary published in English on World Politics Review and that would see him eventually turning back from the border due to inadequate security conditions. Last week, Pelda returned to the region and crossed the border into Darfur, where he is now accompanying a Darfur rebel group. His daily dispatches on his journey are being published in German on the NZZ Online here. Starting today, with "Day 1: Blurred Battle Lines in the Border Region," World Politics Review will be presenting them in English. In order not to cause unnecessary danger to himself and his travel companions, Kurt Pelda retains the right to omit or to change the names of places, roads and persons. He will make his exact itinerary known at the end of his trip.
Day 1: Blurred Battle Lines in the Border Region
Criss-Crossing the Semi-Desert
Shivering, the Chadian gendarmes get up from their night quarters in the sand. During the day, the thermometer reaches well over 90 ºF. But at night it gets chilly. The post is only a few kilometers away from the Sudanese border. We arrived in the dark last night and the gendarmes refused to permit us to continue. There are four of us: myself; Umar, a rebel commander from Darfur; the interpreter, Ibrahim; and Abakr, the Chadian driver.