Chad: Peacekeepers Ordered To Leave


March 5, 2010: The UN is still not able to get its peacekeeper force in Chad to full strength (it's only 70 percent now). Meanwhile, Chad wants the peacekeepers out because the government believes the force tears up the roads (and doesn't even offer to repair them), and that all those foreign troops cause inflation. That always happens when lots of foreign aid groups (NGOs) enter an area, and demand peacekeepers to protect them. These foreigners spend a lot of money, and upset the normal balance in the local economy. Despite all this, about 18 percent of the Chad population (mostly in western Chad) is starving because of endemic drought. Meanwhile, the billions of dollars of foreign aid going to eastern Chad (to support 250,000 refugees from Chad and 160,000 from within Chad) is making many locals (tribal leaders and bandit chiefs) rich. There are several bandit groups and tribal warlords operating along the Sudanese border. Here there were 5-20 attacks a week last year. Several NGOs felt this was too much, and withdrew. Take away the foreign peacekeepers, and that gets worse, even if you hire lots of local tribesmen for security.

March 1, 2010: The government agreed to allow the UN peacekeepers to remain in the country for two more months (May 15th). If the UN can offer the government some kind of financial inducement, additional extensions would be possible. The government believes that the current peace deal with Sudan will hold, thus eliminating the problem with rebels in eastern Chad.

February 17, 2010: The government has told the UN that the peacekeeping force must leave when its current mandate ends on March 15th. This alarmed the UN and the many NGOs that guard the aid workers. For example, the peacekeepers spend a lot of time escorting convoys carrying food and other aid. Without the peacekeepers, bandits would steal much of the aid. Local guards could be hired, but this would greatly increase the cost of aid operations, and reduce the amount of food and other aid reaching the half million people depending on this in eastern Chad and Central African Republic.





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