International

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Chad Declares State of Emergency after Coup Attempt

February 17, 2008 10:05 AM
by findingDulcinea Staff
President Idriss Deby declared a national state of emergency late Thursday, imposing a curfew and seizing control of the media.

30-Second Summary

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The state of emergency follows a foiled attack on the capital city of N’Djamena launched by anti-government rebels on Feb. 2. Rioters looted state buildings and 160 residents were killed.

In N’Djamena, military and police personnel are entering private homes to look for rebel soldiers or stolen government property. Residents have complained that these searches have themselves turned into looting expeditions.

"There are lots of searches going on and we don't know what's official or not but people are taking advantage and racketeering,” a student told Reuters.

Chad was once under French colonial rule, and France has admitted to transporting munitions there from Libya to support the government. But it says that its armed forces have not been involved in any of the fighting.

France argues that Deby is a stabilizing factor and vital to sustaining the effectiveness of the EU peacekeeping troops, EUROFOR, that are going to be stationed in Chad. EUROFOR will be protecting the humanitarian mission in eastern Chad that is working with the refugees who fled across the Sudanese border from Darfur.

However, Journalist Nikolas K. Gosvedev writes in his blog The Washington Realist that France's support for Deby could compromise the EU mission:  “EUROFOR is the largest EU military force deployed anywhere and so, if the EU is serious about being credible as a security provider, EUROFOR needs to work. The question is whether Paris is prepared to sacrifice the Deby government in Chad.”

Headline Link: ‘Chad Army Instills Fear as Emergency Declared’

Background: Chad and the Darfur crisis

Historical Context: Chad’s post-colonial history

Key Player: Idriss Deby

Opinion & Analysis: Deby under threat

Reference: Chad

Related Topics: 'Befriending Africa'

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