Chad Troops Leave Nigeria After Boko Haram Mission

File photo

 

Chad’s months-long mission fighting Boko Haram in Nigeria has ended and its 1,200-strong force has been withdrawn, an army spokesman told AFP on Saturday.

“It’s our troops who went to aid Nigerian soldiers months ago returning home. They have finished their mission,” spokesman Colonel Azem Bermandoa told AFP. “None of our soldiers remains in Nigeria,” he added, without specifying whether they might be replaced following Friday’s pullout.

“Those who have come back will return to their sector at Lake Chad,” Bermandoa said.

However, Chad’s general chief of staff General Tahir Erda Tahiro said that if countries in the region which have contributed to a multinational anti-jihadist force were in agreement, more troops will likely be sent in.

“If the states around Lake Chad agree on a new mission there will surely be another contingent redeployed on the ground,” Tahiro told AFP.

Boko Haram began the insurrection in Nigeria a decade ago, leading to at least 35,000 deaths with violence spilling over into Chad, Niger and Cameroon.

A Boko Haram faction aligned with Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) jihadists is highly active around Lake Chad where the group has training bases on the Niger border and regularly carries out raids on military bases and regional security forces.

Last month saw 14 people killed with 13 more listed as missing after an attack on a fishing village in western Chad.

Countries in the region have banded together to fight Boko Haram and ISWAP with support from civilian defence committees leading to Chad contributing 1,200 troops.

Those troops have now pulled back across the border to be “deployed in the Lake Chad region to strengthen security along the border,” a senior local official told AFP.

Cameroon says it is battling an upsurge in Boko Haram attacks and, according to an Amnesty International report published last month 275 people, including 225 civilians, were killed there last year.

Boko Haram Kills 14 In Western Chad

 

 

Fourteen people were killed and 13 were missing after Boko Haram jihadists attacked a fishing village in western Chad on Tuesday, government officials said.

Violence from the Boko Haram insurgency started in Nigeria a decade ago but has since spread to neighbouring countries Chad, Niger and Cameroon.

“There were 14 dead, five wounded and 13 missing in the attack” near the village of Kaiga on the shores of Lake Chad, Dimouya Souapebe, the prefect of the region, told AFP on Wednesday.

Kaiga lies in marshland in a remote, sprawling region where the borders of the four countries — Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria and Niger — meet.

The village is about 60 kilometres (35 miles) from the border with northeast Nigeria, the springboard for Boko Haram raids and kidnappings in neighbouring countries.

“We know that there are always Boko Haram elements moving around the (border) area, so they are behind this attack,” Souabebe said.

“The attackers first came in a small group and then brought in reinforcements to attack the fishermen.”

The region’s governor, Noki Charfadine, gave a toll of at least nine dead.

He said the attack had taken place in a “red zone, where fishing is forbidden.”

Boko Haram launched its armed insurgency in northeastern Nigeria — a campaign that has killed 35,000 people and caused around two million to flee their homes.

The spread of violence to Chad, Cameroon and Niger has prompted the formation of a regional military coalition to fight the jihadists.

Boko Haram has since split in two, with the emergence of a branch allied to the Islamic State (IS) group, known as Islamic State Group in West Africa or ISWAP.

The other faction, loyal to the movement’s historic leader, Abubakar Shekau, is known for targeting civilians, including village attacks and suicide attacks.

The ISWAP, which has about 3,000 men grouped at Lake Chad, has been building its capacity and mainly targets the armed forces of countries in the region.

In Chad, four soldiers were killed by jihadists on December 2 in the attack on one of their positions on the shores of the lake. In recent months, many civilians have been killed or abducted in this area as well, mostly in Chad and Cameroon.

AFP

Buhari Lauds MNJTF Troops In Insurgency War

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has commended soldiers of the Operation Lafiya Dole, and their Chadian counterparts fighting at the Lake Chad axis.

The Minister of Defense Bashir Magashi, a retired general, on Sunday, conveyed the president’s message at the Headquarters of Sector 3, Monguno in Borno State.

He was accompanied by the Chief of Army Staff Lieutenant General Tukur Buratai and the Air Chief, Air Marshall Sadiq Abubakar and other top-ranking officials of the Nigerian armed forces.

The Chadian army is part of the Multinational Joint Task Force, fighting alongside Niger, Cameroon, and Benin to support the Nigerian army in the counter-terrorism war.

“We are also aware of the sacrifices the Chadian soldiers are making and we hope the cooperation will continue.”

READ ALSO: Airforce Fighter Jets Kill ISWAP Terrorists During Meeting

Even though the minister declined to grant an interview to journalists, his visit may not be unconnected with the recent phase of attacks allegedly carried out by ISWAP, the Boko Haram faction in the Lake Chad Basin.

“Muhammadu Buhari has asked me to convey his goodwill to all of you for your doggedness, resilience and hard work you’ve been putting in the northeast sector of our operations.

 

My purpose of coming here is to see all of you, discuss with your colleagues from Chad and see how we can improve our operational efficiency.”

Magashi while addressing the troops said he has been talking to Commanding Officers and assured that the troops’ welfare will be adequately taken care of.

“We have discussed at length with your officers they have told us your problems and everything that is needed for you to improve the conduct of this operation our prayer is that you continue with the good work you have been doing. And ensure that all that you’re doing will not be left unattended we will do our best to see that your welfare and motivation are well taken care of by the grace of God all of you will go back to your families and continue with your normal training in your career and the government and the people of Nigeria will never forget our heroes who have done us proud but have lost their lives,” Magashi told the troops.

UN: Nigeria Has 218,000 Refugees In Cameroon, Chad, Niger Republic

 

The United Nations High Commission for Refugees has said that there are about 218,000 Nigeria refugees in Chad, Cameroon and Niger Republic.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja on Wednesday, the UNHCR country representative, Mr Anthonio Canhandula, urged the Federal Government to create conditions that would facilitate the return of the refugees to the country.

Mr Canhandula added that Nigeria is currently housing 46,000 refugees from Cameroon, which is spread across Benue, Cross River and Taraba States.

He also noted that only 1.2 million of the 1.8 million accessible Internally Displaced Persons are receiving assistance – a situation which he believes requires urgent attention.

Boko Haram Fighters Kill Five Villagers In Chad

 

Five villagers have been killed in western Chad, as Boko Haram jihadist fighters increase their deadly attacks, a regional official told AFP Monday.

Two of the victims were strangled and three were shot dead, said Sadick Khatir, secretary-general of the Lac area.

The bodies were found on Saturday, another local source said.

“The villagers went outside the zone protected by the army,” the source said.

Boko Haram has training camps on several of the islands that dot the vast, shallow Lake Chad, which straddles the borders of Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon as well as Chad.

READ ALSO: Seven Malian Soldiers Die In Clash With Jihadists

The jihadist insurgency, which broke out in north-eastern Nigeria a decade ago, has spilt over into neighbouring countries.

This year alone 140,000 people have been displaced by renewed Boko Haram violence and more than three million people endure food insecurity as farmers have been unable to plant crops, according to the United Nations.

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

Boko Haram, loosely translated as “Western education is banned”, wants to create a hard-line Islamic state.

AFP

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