Update from Abeche – Sunday 15 June – 3pm

We had cell phone service early in the morning but the signal went dead well before noon. Our friend and translator, Bouba, has been in Goz Beida since Friday, going up with our car, supplies, and extra luggage, to supposedly meet us there when we flew in. Of course, we have not been able to leave Abeche, due to the rebel activity in Goz Beida and other areas.

I spoke with Bouba yesterday morning. He sounded a little more serious than his usual “no problem.” The rebels were inside of town and fighting it out with government forces as we spoke. I could hear, barely through the bad cell reception, the crackling of gunfire. He said he would stay safe, and we would talk later. In the afternoon, I spoke with Bouba again. He sounded calmer but still not the Bouba we know. “I am fine, “ he said and then, after pausing for a moment, added “For now.”

Today has been a quiet day here in Abeche, but it seems like the locals are preparing for some activity. Not having cell service, we had not been able to communicate with Youssouf, our fixer (guy that knows how to get things done here in town). However he did come and quickly dropped off water, bread, and cheese. He said, “I spoke with Bouba this morning. He said rebels left Goz Beida and are coming to Abeche.” He then asked if we are good and said goodnight (it was only 2:30pm here).

We are still in the UNHCR fitness room, just steps from their main compound. Suzanne, from UNHCR, has told us that, if anything happened, we can expect to hear from them, since they are very aware of our presence. We are in a good location. Around here, it is mostly humanitarian organizations’ compounds and no military or government buildings. I don’t expect fighting to come this way, but we are prepared to move quickly, if needed. The most probable move would be to the French base next to the airport.

Gabriel

Gabriel co-founded Stop Genocide Now in 2005, which gave birth to i-ACT in 2009.

He became involved in the situation in Darfur out of a sense of personal responsibility. He believes the power of community and compassion, combined with personal empowerment, can bring about meaningful change.

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Category: Reports from Abeche · Tags: ,

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9 Responses to “Update from Abeche – Sunday 15 June – 3pm”
  1. Nell says:

    Dear All…stay safe. Thinking of you and all of the refugees with love, Nell

  2. Meron says:

    Hey Gabriel! Been following along daily, doin’ what I; posting the days’ video and actions on Ned and my FaceBook and wearing my ratty old Genocide Intervention Network T-shirt. Can really feel your and the team’s frustration at not being able to do what you went there to do. But, you are brining home the staggering reality that in spite of your and many others efforts over the past number of years this situation in Darfur/Chad is getting WORSE not better. There’s an extreme urgency in this crisis and your stories are reflecting that. You ARE doing what you set out to do …

    Be safe and well,

    Meron
    XoX

    • Katie-Jay says:

      Hello Meron!
      Thank you. Yes, it is amazing that the situation is getting worse. So many individuals and groups have taken on the responsibility to act and do what they can for the people of Darfur, but there is something missing. We have not been able to push that responsibility back up to our leaders that have the power to do something about it. I know there has not been an all-out attempt by our own US government or others across the world to find a solution or even a road that will lead us soon to that solution. We have to keep being creative and relentless in our pushing for peace.

      Hug,
      g

  3. Katie says:

    Yesterday, June 14th, I graduated high school. During the entire ceremony, all I could think about was the work you were doing and the cause you’re fighting for. One of my classmates advised us graduates to find something we are passionate about and pursue, as that is the only way to attain happiness. This cause, your cause…my cause…social justice impassions me. I cannot wait another moment to fully dedicate myself to the pursuit of a world with peace and, from reading your experiences and my daily newspaper, the world cannot wait either. We need more people like you, people who, like you’re doing now, are ready to risk their lives for a cause bigger than themselves. I am not sure I am that kind of person, now or ever, but I will try. With every email, every letter, every protest, I’ll try. When you met the refugees (I know you will, though it might take time), tell them that we are fighting for them, that people care and love them.

    Stay safe, keep fighting and remember that we believe in you! Be patient. Good luck!

    -Katie

    • Gabriel says:

      Dear Katie:
      Thank you for your passion and thinking about peace for others at a
      time when most are thinking about celebrating and the vacation ahead.
      Congratulations on your graduation! Young people like you give me so
      much hope for the future. I know that we can do so much better at
      stopping and preventing horrors like what is happening in Darfur and
      the region today. We’ll need new ideas and energy that people like
      you bring. Stay in touch!
      Peace,
      g

  4. Lisa Goldner says:

    Hi, Gabriel,

    When we had a special blessing of the fathers at mass, tonight, I was thinking of you, too, so far from your Mimi and Gabo, and all the fathers that have been senselessly lost in this genocide, and those who are forced to be separated from their families. After mass, we took a gift to the Darfuri father of eight who we’re helping resettle, here. It was for his first official Father’s Day in the U.S. It was hard sharing with that family the updates from your team on the conditions in Chad. They have family both inside and outside the camps in Chad and Darfur. Some of their relatives’ children are in French sponsored schools in N’Djamena, so the instability there is of extra concern, too. These resettled Darfurians may be safe physically, but their extreme mental anguish over those they’ve left behind is a tremendous weight to bear. We’ll all pray for better news, soon. Stay safe.

    Blessings,
    Lisa

  5. Kathleen Scott says:

    Hi Gabriel,

    I know it’s tomorrow there but Happy Father’s Day, the Laker’s won, be nice to Colin about it.

    Keep the Faith,
    Kathleen

  6. Tony Gabriele says:

    Hi, Gabe and the rest of the I-ACT Team-
    Everyone from our Amnesty International Meeting in Los Angeles says hi and gives their support from the meeting. Peace,and Best Regards from the group
    Tony Amnesty International Group Coordinator

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