19 September 2008The situation in Chad remains fragile and there has been no notable progress towards implementing a year-old agreement between the Government and the main rebel groups, a senior United Nations official said today. “Moreover, instability and insecurity are likely to increase with the end of the rainy season when roads will become passable again and rebel activities will resume,” the head of the UN Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), Victor Angelo, told the Security Council.The Council set up the mission a year ago with a mandate to help bring stability to eastern Chad and north-eastern Central African Republic (CAR), which have both been wracked by violence and civilian displacement in recent years involving hundreds of thousands of people.Presenting Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon latest report on MINURCAT, Mr. Angelo reported that relations between Chad and Sudan remain tense despite regular meetings of a contact group.Eastern Chad currently shelters 290,000 refugees, mainly Sudanese escaping from the fighting in the neighbouring Darfur region, and 180,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) who depend on humanitarian aid to survive.“The protection of civilians remains a major concern,” he said. “Villages are regularly attacked, impunity remains a critical issue and criminals are rarely investigated or found guilty. Vulnerable groups, particularly women and children, are the most affected.”The situation in CAR is also volatile, he added.In his report, Mr. Ban proposed sending 6,000 UN troops to replace a European Union (EU) force in both countries. The mandate of the EU military force, known as EUFOR, is set to expire on 15 March 2009, and currently comprises 3,300 troops. At present MINURCAT has 768 personnel on the ground out of the 1,549 authorized.