Chad: It Is Personal


April 19,2008: Some 1,800 of the 3.700 EU (European Union) peacekeepers have arrived in Chad. The entire force is supposed to be in Chad by the end of June. That will include helicopters, which are essential to enable the peacekeepers to watch over the huge (1,300 kilometers) border with Sudan. Meanwhile, the Chad rebels refuse to resume peace negotiations with the government, insisting that the government cannot be trusted. This conflict, like most past ones, is based on tribal loyalties and personal animosities.

April 11, 2008: A fire in the Goz Amer refugee camp (on the Sudanese border) left 2,100 refugees homeless. There are still several thousand Sudanese refugees a week coming across the border. Most are heading for the Chad refugee camps, but at least 10,000 are staying in villages along the border, usually with kinsmen from a tribe that straddles the border. There are currently about 250,000 refugees in twelve camps. Over two-thirds are women and children. The men are either dead, off fighting or looking for work.

April 10, 2008: A Sudanese army captain fled to Chad with a million dollars in cash. This was part of a $3.4 million army payroll he was in charge of. The captain was paying Sudanese army units, as well as irregular tribal militias. Sudan has long denied that it provided any support for these pro-government militias. The Captain wanted to defect to one of the Sudanese rebel groups.

April 9, 2008: The government believes that Sudan is allowing Chad rebels to gather right across the border, and prepare for another major military operation. Chad and Sudan signed a treaty last month agreeing not to do that sort of thing.

April 6, 2008: It appears that over 20,000 people fled the capital, Ndjamena, in the wake of the rebel invasion in February. Most of them fled across the nearby border, into Cameroon and Nigeria. The army and police forcibly drove some 10,000, who belonged to tribes aligned with the rebels, out and destroyed nearly 2,000 homes.




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