Chad: Call the Cops


March 4, 2007: The 320,000 refugees in eastern Chad are still getting raided by armed groups from Sudan (Darfur) and Chad. About 20 percent of the refugees are from Chad, driven out of their villages by Sudanese raiders (for the most part, some fled fighting between Chadian factions.) There are thousands of Chadian refugees who have not found their way to refugee camps, but are instead staying with relatives in other villages. There are three major rebel groups, all from Arab tribes in eastern and northern Chad. As in Darfur, these Arab groups are mainly attacking black African tribes. Some of the Chad rebels, however, are fighting with the Sudanese raiders (also from Arab tribes).

March 3, 2007: The UN is somewhat relieved that Chad has rejected peacekeepers. That's because UN logistical planners have discovered that it would be very expensive to get peacekeepers to Chad, and keeping them supplied there. The Chad-Sudan border is, literally, in the middle of nowhere. It's a thinly populated, arid part of the world, far from good transportation, roads, sources of adequate water, and basic supplies. Sending in police imposes a smaller logistic burden, but also provides less firepower, and more vulnerability to attack. The Chad government argues that the raiders are lightly armed and not professional soldiers. Well armed (with machine-guns and mortars) police could handle the rebels and raiders. However, few countries are eager to send their police into that kind of environment. Now its been suggested that infantry be called police (perhaps "Military Police") and sent in

March 1, 2007: In the northeast, fighting broke out. There were over fifty casualties, including at least 18 dead. This was apparently a tribal clash, more than a typical rebel raid on a town or a refugee camp. Elsewhere in the north, rebels raided an army camp and stole three vehicles.

February 28, 2007: Chad has now rejected a UN proposal to send in 11,000 peacekeepers, and demanded a force of police instead. Chad changed its mind when it realized that foreign troops would imply "foreign occupation," while police would not. Chad had agreed to a peacekeeping force last November, but as the UN sought international support for such an operation, groups (many hostile to the government) inside Chad began to call peacekeepers an "occupation force."

February 24, 2007: Chad has responded positively to the UN proposal for 11,000 peacekeepers. But some Chad media have called the proposed UN force of foreign troops an army of occupation.




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