Chad Says Sudan is Attacking Border; U.S. Diplomats Evacuated

June 17, 2008 12:48 PM
by Anne Szustek
The former French colony’s government is blaming Sudan for supporting rebels that have attacked cities in eastern Chad. Embassies and NGOs are moving all nonemergency staff.

30-Second Summary

The United Nations maintains Chad and Sudan are "fighting a proxy war" by way of each other's military rebel factions, a claim Chad denies. The two countries are signatory to bilateral peace treaties; however the treaties often have been ignored over the past five years.

The U.S. Embassy has evacuated nonessential personnel, sending them to the American diplomatic mission in Cameroon.

France, which has had a military presence in Chad since 1986, has been blamed by both rebel forces and the host government of abetting the other side.

Ali Gueddei, the spokesperson for a coalition of rebel groups, told Agence-France Presse on Friday, "We are making a last, solemn appeal to France for it to immediately cease its state of belligerence towards the armed forces of the opposition."

EUFOR, a peacekeeping force of 3,700 soldiers deployed to eastern Chad by the European Union, is dominated by French troops. Chadian President Idriss Deby has accused them of partnering with rebels as the dissident group pushes toward capital city N'Djamena. Its ultimate goal is to overthrow Deby's government.

France argues that Deby is a stabilizing factor and vital to sustaining the effectiveness of the EU peacekeeping troops.

A state of emergency was announced in mid-February following a foiled rebel attack on N’Djamena on Feb. 2. Rioters looted state buildings and 160 residents were killed.

Military and police personnel were entering private homes in the capital city during the state of emergency to search for rebel soldiers or stolen government property. Residents have complained that these searches have themselves turned into looting expeditions.

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.

Headline Links: Chad "Under Attack by Sudan;" diplomats sent out of country

Video: 'Chad: Rebel Attacks Resume'

Background: Chad declares state of emergency in February; the Darfur crisis

Historical Context: Chad’s post-colonial history

Key Player: Idriss Deby

Reference: Chad

Related Topics: Supporting aid efforts in Africa; UN to address issue of rape as a weapon


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