Saturday, February 02, 2008

Chaos on the streets of N'Djamena



Fascinating, courageous footage from people caught in the Hotel Merdian near the Presidential Palace figh in Chadian capital.

All out fighting between Chadian rebels and government troops began early this morning in the capital of Chad, N'Djamena. As our team left Eastern Chad three days ago, humanitarian aid workers were being evacuated from the camps where our friends Adam, Yakoub, Darsalam, Selma, Aziza, and Saleh are now without regular services. Since, flights have been cancelled in both Eastern Chad and now out of N'Djamena.

Our field team is currently safe in the capital, but felt heavy fire this afternoon.

Here is a glimpse from Gabriel, "It was a close call. Bullets flew over our heads and parts of the walls and objects around us came raining down on us. We were already lying on the ground because the attack on the hotel and started to a few minutes before"

"The shots broke through the lobby glass and in to the bar, with heavy shooting in return from the French Soldiers positioned around the hotel. Katie-Jay and I crawled towards the low wall to feel more protected, but it just did not feel safe, to tell you the truth. As I crawled, I touched a small metal object that was burning hot, a bullet that had just ricocheted around the room. I have a little souvenir to remind me of the excitement."
There is hope that they might get to head to a French military base tonight, otherwise they will continue to wait at the hotel until they can fly out. They have all expressed that the hotel isn't safe for another night and that the UN and French are evacuating their people from the hotel.

We urge everyone to click on the two links provided here. One is for the US Senators and the other is for the House of Representatives. Please ask both the senators and the representatives that you contact to put pressure on the Department of State. They have promised to help get the team protection but please continue to contact the congressmen asking them to follow through until they are in safe hands.

Click here for Senators: www.senate.gov/general/contact_informati on/senators_cfm.cfm

Click here for Representatives: https://forms.house.gov/wyr/welcome.shtm l

Gabriel and Katie-Jay have both posted about what they have been experiencing through their blogs on stopgenocidenow.org. There are also videos of the city under fire and the current attacks, so please still stay connected with them.

I think it is important that we remember our friends that are in the camps without protection in a time like this. It takes us all a bit closer to what it's like to live in fear without help on in the way. Lets all work together to get our ground team home, then harder than ever for the refugees because this is their reality everyday.

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