The intensely arid region of Birak in the far east of Chad, along the Sudanese border is beyond the control of the Chad government. Lawless and full of heavily armed, indeterminate Chad rebel groups and 'bandits', it is now also home to hundreds of Sudanese refugees who, fleeing from attacks on their villages by the government-backed Arabic janjaweed, have set up makeshift camps in the area.
Life here is extremely difficult; water requires a 10-hour round trip walk into Sudan. The reasons the refugees refuse to move to the camps inland, where they will have access to water, food and protection remain unclear, but it is wondered if the heavy JEM [Justice and Equality Movement, the Sudanese rebel group] influence in the area is a reason.
Photojournalist Sam Mann was in eastern Chad in July this year under the protection of the UNHCR.
Click on the thumbnails to read each person's story and see the photo-story slideshow below. (enable pop-ups).
All names have been changed.
|Chief Abbas Mansour Ibrahim, 72
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