Aid workers near the refugee camp at Farchana told UNHCR staff they saw the bodies of a man and a woman being taken from the camp. Four Chadian armoured vehicles were also observed nearby.Chad had previously ordered all relief workers except those with its own government agency to withdraw temporarily from the camps at Farchana and Breidjing after violent scenes there in the past 10 days. Some workers said they feared they would be killed if they had not fled what were described as “unruly crowds.”UNHCR voiced its deep regret at the deaths. The agency urged the Chadian Government and the refugees to resolve any differences peacefully and said it was working to get local tribal elders to intercede in the dispute.”The tragic death of these two refugees is yet another sign of the precarious situation facing the some 200,000 Sudanese refugees in Chad,” said Deputy High Commissioner Wendy Chamberlin. “Protection and assistance for the refugees is UNHCR’s number on global priority.”Chad, UNHCR and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have set up nine camps, including those at Farchana and Breidjing, to house as many as possible of the estimated 180,000 people who have escaped from civil conflict and militia attacks in Sudan’s Darfur region.Many of the camps are now overcrowded. More than 11,000 people live at Farchana and at least 37,000 are staying at Breidjing. But the precise reasons for the recent outbreak of violence remain unclear.On 13 July, refugees at Farchana attacked aid workers with rocks and other projectiles, while refugees used knives last Friday to strike at aid workers distributing food at Breidjing. Tuesday rocks were thrown at Chadian officials as they left a meeting with refugee leaders.Relief workers speculated that some refugee leaders feared that Chad and humanitarian agencies did not want to help them return home to Darfur, but instead keep them stationed in the camps.UNHCR official Craig Sanders warned that conditions in the camps – where Chad has ultimate responsibility for security – have deteriorated since relief workers were asked to leave.”For every minute, for every day that this situation goes on, we could be looking at a serious public health problem,” he said.Meanwhile, UN officials will take part in negotiations tomorrow in Geneva with the leaders of two rebel groups from Darfur about how to revive peace talks being mediated by the African Union (AU).Mohamed Sahnoun, Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Adviser on Africa, will head the UN team at the talks, set up to try to resume negotiations that foundered over the weekend.In a separate development, eight observers from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights have been granted visas to travel to Darfur to monitor whether they are any violations of civil liberties.The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) also reported that diarrhoeal and malnutrition rates have surged in Darfur and Chad as the rainy season sweeps across the region.

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