Chad: Peacekeepers Disappear


December 6, 2007: The civil war has revived, with most of the rebel groups renouncing the recent peace deal, and back at war with the government. Meanwhile, the 4,500 European peacekeepers are on hold because they cannot find a way to get the needed helicopters to support them. There's also a reluctance to move into a situation that will apparently require peace making (and casualties) rather than peacekeeping. The NGO aid groups in Chad are very upset at all this, as the increased violence makes it more difficult to supply over 400,000 refugees in NGO administered camps.

Rebels have clashed with the army at least four times in the last week. Hundreds have died, most of them rebels. The army has a major advantage in the form of several French warplanes. Chad also has some armed helicopters. The French air attacks have angered the rebels to the point where the rebels have openly "declared war" on France and threatened to target French soldiers if the French led peacekeeping force ever shows up. The rebels are upset because the peace deal calls for many of them to turn in their weapons. Eastern Chad is a rough neighborhood, the government is not trusted, and no one wants to be unarmed.

There are already about 1,100 French troops in Chad. Like most former French colonies in Africa, France offers military assistance to any government that seems to have control over most of the country. France may have to go it alone, and send in more of its own troops. The other peacekeeper nations are less attached to Chad, and reluctant to send their soldiers into what is turning into a very violent part of the world.


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