Darfur village springs back to life
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Chadian Arabs find refuge in Darfur

“That is our land,” said Miriam Yahyah Ahmed, a 60-year-old widow with four grown children. “Those people should go.” For some displaced Tulus, Sudan villagers, now living less than 20 miles away in Habillah, news that Chadian Arabs are cultivating and living on their land has brought suspicion and anguish. In Tulus, she lived on a small farm with acres of corn and peanuts. Now, she struggles to nurture a few dozen corn stalks on a dirt patch behind her straw hut. (Carolyn Cole / LAT)
Chadian Arabs are now farming on the land where Sudanese farmers, who were forced from the land, once lived. Four years after the war began in Darfur, thousands have crossed over the border and are now living on land owned by Darfurian tribes before they were forced off the land and into IDP camps. Nearly 30,000 Chadian Arabs have come across the border, some to escape violence in their own country, and are being supported by local Sudanese Arab sheiks. (Carolyn Cole / LAT)
A group of approximately 36 families who arrived from Chad in March 2007, including these, is under the leadership of Sheik Algooni Mohamed Zeean. He acknowledged the controversy surrounding their arrival and the fears of the former Tulus residents. He vowed to leave the land if the original owners return. “Our land in Chad is better anyway,” he said. (Carolyn Cole / LAT)
Sheik Ismail Mohamed Shein, center, a Chadian Arab, is the leader of some 60 Arab families who crossed into Sudan in 2005. They are being supported by local Sudanese Arab sheiks who say that their presence is only temporary and they will move when the origninal owners return. (Carolyn Cole / LAT)
It is not clear if Chadian children born in Darfur will be given Sudanese citizenship. These children arrived in Sudan in March 2007. One Darfur hospital was reportedly asked to forge 100 birth certificates, according to a UNHCR official. (Carolyn Cole / LAT)
Al Hadi Ahmed Shineibat, a high-ranking Sudanese Arab sheik, plays with one of his children. The brother of a militia leader cited by the State Department for attacks against Darfur villages, he has been coordinating Chadian arrivals as they cross the border. (Carolyn Cole / LAT)
A mother and child are among the thousands of displaced villagers living in the town of Habillah. (Carolyn Cole / LAT)