Chad and Sudan are at
war again, this time unofficially. Chadian troops have joined forces with
Sudanese rebels (the Darfur Based JEM) to attack Sudanese backed Chad rebels
who have been operating along the Sudanese border, and often retreating into
Sudan to avoid getting stomped by a superior force. Now Chad insists it will
not stop at the border when pursuing these raiders. Sudan says it will defend
itself. The war zone is a howling desert and the players a groups of heavily
armed guys riding around in SUVs and pickup trucks. The Chad army has a few
helicopters, and occasional air support from a French Air Force detachment. The
Sudanese usually use Russian transport aircraft, converted into bombers by
having bombs pushed out of the aircraft. Not very accurate, but usually only
directed at sprawling targets, like towns inhabited by people hostile to the
January 6, 2008: The UNAMID "hybrid"
peacekeeping force in Darfur still suffers from critical gaps in equipment.
Lack of helicopters remains the biggest problem but ground transportation is
also inadequate. Given the size of the Darfur region, helicopter support is
absolutely vital, for both transportation and observation.
January 4, 2008: A group thought to be
an "ideological affiliate" of Al Qaeda, claimed that it was responsible for the
January 1st murder of a USAID worker and a Sudanese driver working for USAID.
The group's is named Ansar al-Tawhid (Partisans of Allah's Unity, or Oneness).
The claim was made on a website, which means that the claim is unsubstantiated.
The South Sudan government claimed that
militia fighters "supported by northern (Sudan) soldiers" attacked a southern
Sudanese military position. The militia consisted of a "tribal group" but
included members of the Sudanese Army, and the firefight took place along the disputed
January 1, 2008: John Granville, an
American diplomat working for the US Agency for International Development
(USAID) was shot to death in Khartoum. The American official's Sudanese driver
was also slain. Granville was killed when a car pulled up near his car and
gunfire erupted. Police reported that the attackers fired 17 shots, and the
attack remained under investigation.
December 31, 2007: UNAMID, the combined UN and the African Union
peacekeeping force in Darfur, officially
raised its flag. UNAMID's headquarters
is in the town of El Fasher, the capital of North Darfur State.