Africa’s Journal

Your source for African news.

Chad: The Dead Heart of Africa Rebels

Posted by africasjournal on February 7, 2008

chad-fighting.jpg

Chad’s president Idriss Deby Itno’s regime seems to have been scarred by the rebels this past week. Today he issued a statement asking the EU to deploy peacekeeping forces to help ease pressure from his men. In the aftermath of this attempted coup, Mr.Deby and the French were quick to ensure that the governance of Chad still remained within his grasp.


Chad, part of France’s African holdings until 1960, endured three decades of civil warfare as well as invasions by Libya before a semblance of peace was finally restored in 1990. The government eventually drafted a democratic constitution, and held flawed presidential elections in 1996 and 2001. In 1998, a rebellion broke out in northern Chad, which sporadically flares up despite several peace agreements between the government and the rebels. In 2005, new rebel groups emerged in western Sudan and have made probing attacks into eastern Chad, despite signing peace agreements in December 2006 and October 2007. Power remains in the hands of an ethnic minority. In June 2005, President Idriss DEBY held a referendum successfully removing constitutional term limits and won another controversial election in 2006. -CIA Fact Book

France was quick to take a stand against the rebels of its once colonized country and vowed to take measures ensuring Mr.Deby’s presidency.

“France will do what it has done before within the limits of international law and the rules that the president of the republic (Nicolas Sarkozy) has given the military for this operation,” Herve Morin, France’s defense minister, said during his arrival in Ndjamena.

However, this is not the first time rebels have tried to overthrow Mr.Deby from his palace. After all in 1990 it was he who overthrew the once French supported Hissène Habré from presidency. Let us not assume that Mr.Deby had Chad’s best interests at heart, especially after he modified the constitution in 2005 to remove the two-term limit of his presidency, and with Chad’s economy increasingly declining it is very likely that it will mirror the images of it’s neighboring countries and enemies Libya and Sudan.

On April 13, 2006 there was a coup attempt against Mr.Deby, in which he accused Sudan of supporting the insurgency. Chad however continues to back two armed groups, the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), that are fighting the Sudan government forces and its proxies in Darfur. As for Libya’s part Colonel Gadaffi in 2006 brokered talks between the regimes, and made commitments not to back rebel groups against each other. These pledges were broken, and after the coup attempt President Déby broke off all diplomatic relations with Khartoum.

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One Response to “Chad: The Dead Heart of Africa Rebels”

  1. Yes, it’s hard to trust Mr Deby on the surface of things. But the suspension of democracy and the extension of his term could also be a response to a very real emergency. The Chadian people seem to agree. Now, with anarchy on Chad’s eastern doorstep, it’s hardly the time for elections. Even the opposition seems to go along. For some Chadian history, please see my:

    HISTORY IN THE NEWS

    http://blackdog2.blogspot.com

    Did you know that forebears of the Taliban, the Pashtun kings of Afghanistan twice formed an Afghan empire in the 18th century?

    Did you know that Burmese monks held massive protests against the British in 1906?

    That Venezuelan dictators Guzman Blanco and Marco Perez both anticipated Hugo Chavez in attempting to extend presidential term limits?

    For the history behind the headlines, I invite you to have a look at
    HISTORY IN THE NEWS at:

    http://blackdog2.blogspot.com

    AND PLEASE SPREAD THE NEWS

    hugh.graham@rogers.com

    Many thanks,
    HG Graham.

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