At Least 52 Killed In Chad Gold Mine Collapse This Week

Chad

 

 

At least 52 people died when an illegal gold mine collapsed in northern Chad this week, a government source said on Friday, with authorities still searching for more bodies.

Chad officials initially said as many as 30 people may have died when the mine caved in on Tuesday in Kouri Bougoudi, in Tibesti province, near the Libyan border, an area rife with illicit mining and smugglers.

Another source who was part of a mission to visit the area also confirmed the new death toll.

“There are 37 injured, including 21 seriously,” the second source said.

Tibesti is largely lawless and home to numerous gangs and traffickers seeking to profit from a gold rush in the area.

Clashes in January between Arab miners from Libya and miners from Chad’s Ouaddai community left “dozens” dead, according to security and mining sources.

Kouri Bougoudi has been the centre of clashes among ethnic, local and foreign groups since 2012 and 2013 after the discovery of gold deposits there.

The Chadian government has authorised mining companies to exploit the deposits but rights groups accuse authorities of using Arab fighters to force a takeover of the area.

Chad, a huge impoverished country in the heart of the Sahel, has been chronically unstable since it gained independence from France in 1960.

In March, the Chadian government decided to set up a joint security force in Tibesti and closed the border with southern Libya — a major source of trafficking and a haven for Chadian rebels.

That move was followed in August by a decree by President Idriss Deby declaring a state of emergency in Tibesti and two other provinces.

Chad Says About 30 May Have Died In Illegal Gold Mine Collapse

Idriss Deby President of Chad, speaks at the 74th Session of the General Assembly at the United Nations headquarters in New York on September 25, 2019 in New York. TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP
Idriss Deby President of Chad, speaks at the 74th Session of the General Assembly at the United Nations headquarters in New York on September 25, 2019 in New York.
TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP

 

Many people were feared dead, possibly 30, after an illegal gold mine collapsed in northern Chad close to the Libyan border, officials said Thursday.

Defence Minister Mahamat Abali Salah told AFP the mine caved in early Tuesday in a zone beset by illicit mining and trafficking at Kouri Bougoudi in Tibesti province.

There were “many deaths, for sure,” Salah said.

“A mine collapsed. I cannot say exactly how many fatalities there are but there are many people working in these mines, so there must be many deaths, for sure,” Salah told AFP by phone.

An army officer who requested anonymity spoke of “around 30 deaths,” basing the figure on witness accounts with the army yet to arrive on the scene which is in a remote small town.

A local lawmaker spoke for his part of “a dozen deaths,” basing his tally on what witnesses had related to him.

“I cannot give you an exact tally as we rushed troops to the scene this morning,” said Salah, saying he expected a report later.

Tibesti, the province where the accident occurred, is largely lawless and home to numerous gangs and traffickers seeking to profit from a gold rush.

Clashes in January between Arab miners from Libya and miners from Chad’s Ouaddai community left “dozens” dead, according to security and mining sources.

Kouri Bougoudi has itself been the scene of clashes among rival ethnic, local and foreign groups since 2012 and 2013 after the discovery of gold deposits there.

The Chadian government has authorised mining companies to exploit the deposits but rights groups accuse authorities of using Arab fighters to orchestrate a takeover of the area.

In March, the Chadian government decided to set up a joint security force in Tibesti and declared the border with southern Libya — a major source of trafficking and a haven for Chadian rebels, but also the region’s main food supply — to be closed.

This move was followed in August by a decree by President Idriss Deby declaring a state of emergency in Tibesti and two other provinces.

 

AFP

Clashes Between Herders, Farmers Kill 11 In Chad

Chad

 

Eleven people were killed in fighting between nomadic herders and sedentary farmers in a dispute over trampled crops in southern Chad, the local governor said Wednesday.

The violence broke out in the district of Koumogo on Monday, causing the death of three herders and eight farmers, the governor of Moyen-Chari province, Abbadi Sahir, told AFP by phone.

Clashes between settled farmers and the nomadic Arab herders are a worsening problem in the arid Sahel, where tensions over access to land are frequent.

READ ALSO: Death Toll From Capsized Cameroon Ferry Rises To 17

The death toll and details of the confrontation were confirmed by a local tribal chief, who spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity.

According to the chief, a herder was killed after cattle trampled some crops. In retaliation, herders used firearms to attack a farmers’ camp, he said.

Police have been deployed at the camp and the governor said he was in negotiations with both sides to calm tensions.

President Idriss Deby this month declared a state of emergency and deployed troops to two eastern provinces, Sila and Ouaddai, where 50 people have died since August 9 in the fighting.

Chad Declares Emergency After Dozens Die In Ethnic Violence

Idriss Deby,
Chad-President-Idriss-Deby

 

Chad President Idriss Deby declared a state of emergency in two eastern provinces on Sunday after violent intercommunal clashes left dozens dead earlier this month.

The state of emergency will run for three months in Sila and Ouaddai regions where 50 people have died since August 9 in fighting between cattle herders and settled farmers, the president’s office said.

“From now, we will deploy military forces who are going to ensure the security of the population in the region,” Deby said while on a trip to Sila.

“We must disarm all the civilians who have weapons in their hands,” he said.

Eastern Chad is in the grip of a cycle of violence between nomadic camel herders — many from the Zaghawa ethnic group from which Deby hails — and sedentary farmers from the Ouaddian community.

Drought and population growth have aggravated the conflict.

AFP

Female Suicide Bomber Kills Six In Chad

Chad

 

A female suicide bomber killed six people after blowing herself up in western Chad early Wednesday, a senior army officer said, in an attack attributed to Nigeria’s Boko Haram.

“Six people died, including a soldier,” in the attack in Kaiga-Kindjiria district, said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity. A local NGO confirmed the account.

A number of people were also injured, the officer said.

A local NGO confirmed the account.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Kaiga-Kindjiria lies in Lac province, which abuts the vast Lake Chad — a region shared by Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria.

Boko Haram launched an insurgency in northeastern Nigeria a decade ago that has since spilled over into neighbouring countries.

It has carried out at least 10 cross-border attacks in Chad since 2018, mainly targeting army positions.

In March, 23 troops were killed when their forward position on the northeastern side of the lake came under attack.

In June, 11 soldiers were killed and six were wounded in clashes at Tchoukoutalia, according to the authorities, who said 26 jihadists were killed.

Boko Haram’s campaign has left some 27,000 people dead and displaced around two million in Nigeria alone, according to some estimates.

In 2015, the four Lake Chad countries, together with Benin, set up a combined force to fight Boko Haram with the help of local groups of armed citizens.

Dozens Dead In Fresh Chad Ethnic Fighting

Chad

 

At least 37 people have been killed in fresh fighting this week between farmers and herders from rival ethnic groups in Chad, President Idriss Deby said on Friday.

The violence broke out over three days in the province of Ouaddai, a strategic area on the eastern border with Sudan, he said.

“The intercommunal conflict has become a national concern,” Deby told a press conference to mark the country’s independence day. “We are witnessing a terrible phenomenon.”

Eastern Chad is in the grip of a cycle of violence between nomadic camel herders — many from the Zaghawa ethnic group from which Deby hails — and sedentary farmers from the Ouaddian community.

Drought and population growth have aggravated the conflict.

The latest fighting erupted on Monday in the Wadi Hamra district after a rancher was found dead, said a local charity representative who asked not to be named for their safety. Three more killings followed that discovery, the representative said.

Fresh violence flared up at another nearby location the following day, a local tribal official told AFP.

“The communities clashed with firearms. The fighting was particularly deadly,” the official said, saying that at least 25 people were killed.

One hospital source told AFP the death toll was as high as 44.

Describing the clashes, Deby said that police sent to the scene came under fire.

“Those with guns are not hesitating to shoot the police. We must wage a total war against those who carry weapons and are killing people,” he said.

Deby said he would visit the area in the future, without saying when.

– Guns from Sudan-

Last month Deby, who has been in power for almost three decades, hinted that military courts may be reintroduced in a bid to curb the unrest, a suggestion denounced by the country’s opposition.

Deby said the decades-long conflict over land in Ouaddai had spread since the start of this year to other regions where previously the communities lived side by side in a an “exemplary” manner.

He cited the eastern province of Sila where he said more than 40 people had been killed since January.

Deby blamed the surge in violence partly on an influx of guns to Chad from conflict zones in neighbouring Libya, Central African Republic and Sudan, where a protest movement ousted the president in April.

“The government has created special disarmament units. We take away the weapons, but the next day more arrive.”

Legislative elections in Chad are scheduled to take place by the end of the year.

They have been postponed several times since 2015 as Deby, who grabbed power in 1990, looks to maintain his grip on the country.

Idriss Deby Lifts Chad’s Social Media Restrictions

Chad’s President Idriss Deby said social media restrictions were imposed “in the context of terrorist threats”.

 

Chad President Idriss Deby said on Saturday he was lifting social media restrictions which were imposed more than a year ago for “security reasons.”

“For some months, security requirements led the government to toughen access conditions and control measures for electronic communications,” Deby said in a closing address to a digital forum in the capital N’Djamena.

“These measures were imposed in a context of terrorist threats (but)” the current situation ” leads me … to instruct the firms concerned to lift immediately the restriction on electronic communications,” said Deby.

On Saturday afternoon, it was possible to access social media applications including Whatsapp and Twitter, an AFP journalist reported.

Access was cut to social media in March last year as public opposition mounted over Deby’s plans to push through changes to the constitution shoring up his power after almost three decades in office.

Access remained possible using VPN networks but the use of those is costly in one of the world’s poorest nations.

Barely five percent of the population enjoy internet access.

Chad is a Western ally in the fight against jihadist groups in Africa and notably faces threats from Boko Haram, which has made several deadly incursions into its territory in recent months.

The largely desert north, bordering Sudan, Libya and Niger, is highly volatile while several rebel groups have set up base just over the border with Libya.

In late January, Chad rebels seeking to destabilise Deby entered the northeast of the country from Libya but were pushed back after French air strikes.

In the east, farmers and nomadic groups have also clashed while the south on the border with the Central African Republic is still tense after the 2013 overthrow of former CAR president sparked unrest which spilled over the border.

Legislative elections in Chad are scheduled to take place by the end of the year having been postponed several times since 2015 as Deby, who grabbed power in 1990, looks to maintain his grip on the country.

AFP

Eight Killed As Boko Haram Attacks Chad

Chad

 

Seven Chadian soldiers and a local guard were killed in a Boko Haram jihadist ambush in Lake Chad, the latest in a surge of attacks in the region, security sources said on Sunday.

Boko Haram militants have been waging a decade-long insurgency in northwest Nigeria, but the conflict has spilt into Lake Chad where Nigeria borders Niger, Chad and Cameroon.

Security sources said the seven Chadian soldiers and the guard were killed in an ambush on Friday in Mbomouga in Chad’s Ngouboua area, and another 13 people were wounded.

“The Boko Haram forces lost six of their people and left behind two weapons,” one security source said.

READ ALSO: British PM Race: Boris Johnson Under Pressure After Police Visit

Among the soldiers killed was a gendarme colonel, the source said. Another source said three army officers were killed in the attack.

Since 2018, Boko Haram has carried out at least nine attacks on Chad. But the jihadist group has stepped up attacks outside Nigeria after a period of calm last year.

Last month, militants killed four people in an attack on a Cameroonian island on Lake Chad and Boko Haram killed another 13 villagers in eastern Chad.

In March jihadists killed at least 23 Chadian soldiers in an attack on an army post in the group’s deadliest attack on the country’s military.

Since 2015, troops from Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria have been grouped into a mixed, multi-national force in a bid to help fight Islamist militants.

AFP

Explosion Kills Soldiers, Journalist In Chad

Chad

 

Four Chadian soldiers and a television reporter were killed when their vehicle hit a mine on a road in eastern Chad, security sources said Sunday.

The victims were headed towards an army position that had been attacked by elements of the Boko Haram Islamist group overnight Friday, the sources said.

“This delegation of the Chadian army was headed to Ngounboua (on Lake Chad), where elements of Boko Haram had attacked an army position overnight, killing at least one on our side,” a security source told AFP.

The source said 23 Boko Haram fighters were killed, confirming a toll given by Chadian army spokesman Azem Bermandoa on national television.

Dimouya Soiapebe, the head of Lake Chad Province, said soldiers and a journalist for the national broadcaster had gone to the scene to “raise the morale of the troops” when the bomb went off.

“Terrorists often lay explosive devices on the roads leading to positions they have attacked,” Soiapebe said.

In March, 23 soldiers were killed in the Lake Chad region in the deadliest attack yet on the Chadian army by Boko Haram, which launched an insurgency in Nigeria a decade ago.

The revolt has claimed more than 27,000 lives and uprooted some 1.8 million people.

Buhari Seeks Regional Cooperation, Asks Leaders To Curb Illegal Flow Of Arms

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday called for the cooperation of regional leaders in curbing the illegal flow of arms into the country.

The President made this call while participating at the Extraordinary Session of the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) in Chad Republic.

In a statement by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, Buhari regretted the illegal flow of small arms to Nigeria.

“President Muhammadu Buhari Saturday arrived in N’Djamena, the Chadian capital seeking wider cooperation to among countries of Sahel and Saharan regions to counter the infiltration of small arms to Nigeria, flowing into the hands of militia forces, bandits and insurgents who are becoming a threat to human rights and internal security,” the statement read in part.

READ ALSO: Buhari, Entourage Arrive Chad For Security Meeting

Buhari noted that the Federal Government “has been working in the last few years to stem the widespread availability of small arms and light weapons making their way into Nigeria.”

According to him, the “very disturbing recent developments” have impelled the administration to seek support from a wider circle of countries if the illegal inflows are to be curtailed.

The President who was received by the host President, Idris Derby, also used the opportunity of his visit to discuss the problems of irregular migration, trafficking in persons, especially of women and children.

The Nigerian leader also ordered the “reinvigoration of our nation’s interest, approved the payment of the backlog of unpaid funds and for a speedier work on the processes of the ratification of the treaty binding the members of the organization.”

While in Chad, Buhari is expected to press for the protection of the well-being of the large population of Nigerians living both legally and illegally in Libya, which is the host country of the CEN-SAD Secretariat.

Buhari Attends Security Meeting In Chad

 

President Muhammadu Buhari is in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad Republic, to participate in the Extraordinary Session of the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD).

The meeting is expected to address recent security issues facing the region.

Personal Assistant to the President on New Media, Bashir Ahmad, confirmed Buhari’s arrival in a series of tweets on Saturday.

“President Buhari arrives N’Djamena, capital of Chad Republic to participate in the Extraordinary Session of the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD), recent security issues top the agenda of the Session,” he stated.

READ ALSO: Buhari Travels To Chad On Saturday For Security Talks, Others

Nigeria joined the current 29-member regional economic community in 2001 which seeks mainly to create a free trade area in Africa, as well as “strengthen peace, security and stability, and achieve global economic and social development of its members.”

Buhari and other regional leaders will join the host President, Idriss Deby “to deliberate on political and security issues, state of peace and ways to address multifaceted threats in CEN-SAD area especially Boko Haram and refugees.”

Joining the President on his Chadian trip are Governors Kashim Shettima, Akinwunmi Ambode and Adegboyega Oyetola of Borno, Lagos and Osun States respectively.

Buhari Travels To Chad On Saturday For Security Talks, Others

Buhari Travels To Chad On Saturday For Security Talks, Others

 

President Muhammadu Buhari will depart Abuja on Saturday for N’Djamena, the capital of Chad Republic.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Garba Shehu, disclosed this in a statement on Friday.

He explained that the purpose of the President’s trip was to participate in the Extraordinary Session of the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States, CEN-SAD.

READ ALSO: Reps Give Buhari 48 Hours To Address Nigerians On Killings

President Buhari and other regional leaders are expected to join their host and current Chairperson of CEN-SAD Conference, President Idriss Deby Itno, to deliberate on security and politics among other issues.

Other issues to be discussed include peace and ways to address multifaceted threats in CEN-SAD area, especially Boko Haram and refugees, and make a declaration on the entry into force of CEN-SAD revised Treaty intended to fast track the realisation of the objectives of the body.

During the opening Session of the Conference, special awards would be given to Heads of State and Military contingents in Mali, Sudan, Somalia, Central African Republic and in the Lake Chad Basin.

President Buhari would be accompanied to the meeting by Governors Kashim Shettima, Akinwunmi Ambode and Adegboyega Oyetola of Borno, Lagos and Osun States respectively.

Others are Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of Interior, Lieutenant General Abdulrahman Danbazau (rtd); Minister of Defence, Brigadier General Mansur Dan Ali (rtd); and the National Security Adviser, Major General Mohammed Monguno (rtd).

Also expected to accompany the President are Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), Ambassador Ahmed Abubakar; Comptroller-General of Immigration, Mohammed Babandede; and the Federal Commissioner for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, Sadiya Farouq.

Created by the Treaty of Tripoli on February 4, 1998, with six founding members, Nigeria joined the current 29-member regional economic community in 2001.

CEN-SAD seeks mainly to create a free trade area in Africa, as well as “strengthen peace, security and stability, and achieve global economic and social development of its members.”

Delegations from 22 member-nations are expected at the extraordinary meeting of CEN-SAD holding on Saturday at the Radisson Blu Hotel, N’Djamena.

President Buhari will return to the country at the end of the Conference on Saturday.