Sudan: Battling Invaders From Chad

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November 20, 2005: For the last few days, Sudanese troops fought with Chadian rebels who had moved into western Sudan. The fighting began November 16, inside Sudanese territory near Moon Mountain. Sudanese forces have suffered casualties from the 133 Chadian rebels that entered Sudan's Darfur region a month ago. This was described by the government as an infiltration. The rebels were operating in wheeled vehicles. Fighting with Chadian rebels -- and attempting to drive them back into Sudan-- is probably not a major escalation in Darfur. Bandit groups inside Chad have raided farms and villages in western Sudan for centuries. Chad's civil war in the 1980s occasionally spilled over the border with Sudan. Now Sudan's Darfur war spills over into Chad. It is likely that Chadian rebels were on looting expeditions. One report said the rebels had been accused of stealing cattle, which is a very traditional crime. In Darfur, UN and NGO aid convoys are also targets for bandits.

November 18, 2005: Some 62 members of the Darfur rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) were killed in fighting in South Darfur. Both the JEM and the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) have engaged in numerous firefights since the summer of 2005. South Darfur has been a battleground and 62 killed is a huge number of losses for the JEM.

November 15, 2005: In the south, fighting between Dinka and Zande tribesmen has forced the UN to evacuate about a hundred aid personnel.

November 14, 2005: The first shipment of 105 new Canadian Grizzly APCs arrived in Sudan's Darfur region, for use by African Union (AU) peacekeepers. The APCs were flown in from Senegal on contract transport aircraft. The transports landed in the Sudanese town of El Fasher. The Grizzlies have been sitting in a holding area in Senegal since the end of the summer. Speculation was that the government was worried that rebels inside Sudan might steal (or buy?) the APCs once they were delivered. Canadian troops have been training AU peacekeepers to operate the vehicles. The wheeled APCs provide the AU troops with good overland mobility and armor protection. RPGs and mines can still take out the Grizzlies, but the AU peacekeepers are more worried about small arms fire. Grizzly APCs can be armed with 20 or 25 millimeter automatic cannon, but indications are the AU's APCs will be armed only with machineguns. The Grizzly is rated as a very mechanically reliable vehicle. Given the road conditions in Darfur, automotive reliability is important. The big concern will be maintenance.

 

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