Chad: All Chaotic On The Eastern Front


August 21,2008:  On the Sudan border, the few European peacekeepers that have arrived have established armed patrols on several of the main roads. This has kept the bandits off these roads, and made it safer for aid groups, refugees and locals to travel. Meanwhile, the army has gone after the bandits, a process that mainly chases the criminals away, to areas where the soldiers and police are not so thick on the ground. The peacekeepers have also used their EOD (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) teams to dispose of left over bombs, shells and RPG warheads. Over 150 of these have been taken care of, saving the lives of many Chadians. This was brought home by the recent death of seven Chadians in a market place, where an unexploded RPG warhead was discovered, and went off while being moved.

August 19, 2008: In the northeast, along the Sudan border, UFDD rebels clashed with pro-government militiamen (from president Idris Deby's Zaghawa tribe). Several days of fighting left over fifty casualties. The fighting took place over a hundred kilometers from the nearest European peacekeepers, and had died down by the time the peacekeepers heard about it and came to investigate.

August 18, 2008: An Austrian peacekeeper patrol, operating at night along the Sudanese border, got caught up in a gun battle between an army patrol and a fleeing group of bandits. No Austrians were injured. It took a while to sort out who was shooting at who. The bandits got away in the darkness. The UN is trying to establish better radio communications between the peacekeepers, Chadian security forces (army, police and pro-government militias) and aid organizations.

August 2, 2008: Sudan and Chad have agreed to re-establish diplomatic relations, and re-open their embassies. All this involves solemn promises to stop supporting rebels in each others territory, and to stop the radio broadcasts denouncing each other, and providing propaganda support for those rebels.


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