Nigeria dispatches team to Chad

Other News Materials 11 February 2008 03:00 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - The Nigerian government dispatched a delegation Sunday to Chad to assist in finding an amicable resolution of the crisis in the neighbouring country, said Peter Orubebe, Nigerian minister of special duties.

He said that when he visited the Chadian refugee camp at Gamboru- Ngala town in Nigeria's north-eastern Borno state that Abuja was concerned about the instability in Chad.

Orubebe said that the Nigerian government would not relent in helping the warring parties in Chad to come to peace terms.

"My interaction with the Borno state government that set up the camp, the refugees and officials on ground has indicated that the Borno state government and the Gamboru-Ngala local government council have done very well in handling the situation," he said.

Arrangements had been finalized to ensure that the roughly 100 refugees still in the camp were repatriated to Chad, Orubebe said.

The Red Cross Society of Nigeria distributed free mattresses, blankets and assorted relief materials to the refugees on Sunday in preparation for their repatriation.

So far 600 Chadians, an equal number of Republic of Niger nationals, 10 Togolese and 150 Ghanaians who fled to Nigeria at the height of the Chadian conflict have left the camp to return to their various countries.

Six hundred Nigerians who also fled from Chad have been reunited with their families.

The Chadian refugees commended the efforts of the Nigerian government in providing their basic needs.

"We are satisfied and appreciative of the hospitality of the Nigerian government," said Amina Abubakar, a middle-aged Chadian woman and mother of three.

"We have information that normalcy is returning to N'Djamena, and we want to go home."

Abdullahi Ibrahim, a 45-year-old Chadian fisherman who said he escaped through Lake Chad to Nigeria, was not anxious to return home.

He described the frightening gunfire and bombardment in N'Djamena, where several people were killed in fighting last week, and said he was not yet certain if it was safe to return to Chad.