At Least 52 Killed In Chad Gold Mine Collapse This Week




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.

Clashes Between Herders, Farmers Kill 11 In 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.

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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.

UN Security Council Partners MNJTF On Fighting Terrorism

U.N. Warns Of Water Crisis In Nigeria's Megacity Lagos  The United Nations Security Council has visited the headquarters of the Multinational Joint Task Force in N’Djamena, Chad.

This was disclosed in a statement signed by the Military Public Information Officer, Col. Mustapha Anka.

They were received by the Commander of the MNJTF, Major General Lamidi Adeosun and other top officials.

Head of the UN delegation, Ambassador Mathew Rycroft, offered partnership to the MNJTF saying the council is impressed with the achievements of the MNJTF.

Rycroft then assured the Commander MNJTF of the council’s “friendship and partnership”.

The delegation was given a detailed brief on the activities of the MNJTF, after which an interactive session followed.

The head of the team noted that with the role being played by the force, there is evidence that mandates would be achieved.

The Force Commander thereafter thanked the members of the Security Council for the honour accorded the MNJTF and their interest in the activities of the force to bring Boko Haram Terrorists to their knees in conjunction with the national operations of the member countries of Lake Chad Basin and Benin.

Those in attendance of the meeting were the Deputy Force Commander, Brigadier General Moussa Mahamat Djoui, the Chief of Staff, Colonel Major Sayed Badje, staff of the Lake Chad Basin Commission and Chief of Cells, MNJTF.

Chad Sentences 10 Boko Haram Members To Death

Boko HaramAs regional efforts continue in countering the Boko Haram insurgency, Chad has sentenced 10 members of the Islamist militant group, Boko Haram, to death on terror charges.

The decision was taken after a three-day trial in the capital N’Djamena.

All 10 men were convicted for their roles in twin attacks on the capital in June, which claimed the lives of 38 people.

The attacks were the first by the Nigerian-based group in Chad, which hosts the headquarters of a regional force, the Multi-National Joint Task Force, set up to fight the militants.

In July, it was reported that Security forces in Chad seized a large weapons cache in a house in N’Djamena, occupied by suspected members of Boko Haram.

Chad has played a leading role in a regional offensive against the armed group this year, in parallel with forces from Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger.

Regional Military Chiefs Conclude Plans To Deploy 8,700 MNJTF Troops

Boko haram counter-terrorism forcesThe Nigerian Chief of Defence Staff, General Gabriel Olonisakin, has met with other regional military chiefs in Chad Republic to deliberate on agreement to accelerate the deployment of the 8,700 strong Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF).

The Chiefs of Defence Staff from the Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) member countries met in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad Republic and finalised details of deployment of a joint force to fight Boko Haram which has sworn allegiance to ISIS and had killed hundreds of people through suicide bombings in the last three months.

A statement by the Defence Headquarters in Nigeria said General Olonisakin had been working round the clock towards actualising the Presidential directive to end Boko Haram terrorists’ activities within three months.

The Defence Chiefs discussed modality for the deployment of joint force to two command posts in Nigeria and Cameroon.

“Also, officers seconded to the MNJTF in N’Djamena were ordered to report immediately to their post, as operation at the Force Headquarters has commenced,” the statement read.

Present at the meeting were the Chiefs of Defence Staff from the LCBC member countries, MNJTF Commander and other senior military delegates.

The LCBC member countries are Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Benin Republic.

The N’Djamena came just as two suicide bombers on Monday attacked two locations in Yobe State, killing five others and inuring over 40.
Police said a female and a male suicide bombers carried out the attacks.

War On Terror: Nigeria’s Foreign Ministry Commends Regional Efforts

Bulus-LoloNigeria’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has hailed the willingness of countries around Nigeria to end insurgency in the region.

The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Ambassador Bulus Lolo, gave the commendation on Tuesday in Abuja on Tuesday.

Ambassador Lolo told foreign affairs reporters that the Multi-National Joint Task Force was in full swing, with the entire command of the military relocated to crucial areas.

He said that the on-going partnerships were encouraging and showed the determination to cap the activities of insurgents

He said: “The Multi-National Joint Task Force with its headquarters in N’Djamena is functional.

“You know that only the last weekend, all our service chiefs led by the chief of defence staff for the first time moved into the war front.

Hitherto and even in the history of the Nigerian Army, there have never have to relocate the entire command headquarters of the military to the war front but that had been done”.

According to him, the development showed that the determination of President Muhammadu Buhari to bring Boko Haram to an end was not questionable.

He said that the decision also showed that Nigeria’s neighbours were willing to work with Nigeria, as the immediate ring around Nigeria was very important to the administration’s desire to end insurgency in the oil-rich nation’s north-east and other neighbouring countries.

“Security in this ring, including the Gulf of Guinea, is not negotiable,” he added.

Chad Says Boko Haram Responsible For Bombs That Killed 27

Boko HaramAbout 27 people, including four suspected Boko Haram members have been killed and 100 others injured in two attacks in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena.

The attacks, which included at least one suicide bomb, are the first of their kind in Chad, an oil-producing nation and a major western ally which has spearheaded offensives on al Qaeda-linked groups in Mali and on Boko Haram in neighbouring Nigeria.

Chad’s Communications Minister, Mr. Hassan Bakari, in a state television broadcast said that Boko Haram is making a mistake by targeting Chad and will be chased out and neutralised wherever they are.

Mr. Bakari did not give further details but Interior Minister, Abderahim Bireme Hamid, said earlier that there had been at least one suicide attack at police headquarters.

Chad has lost dozens of soldiers fighting in northern Mali and in northern Nigeria.

The first known attack by Boko Haram on Chadian soil took place in February on the shores of Lake Chad and has been followed by a handful of other isolated incidents.

Nigeria, Chad Renew Commitment To Collaborate Against Boko Haram

ChadPresident Muhammadu Buhari and his Chadian counterpart, President Idriss Deby Itno, have reaffirmed the commitment of their countries to greater cooperation in the fight against Boko Haram.

This, according to the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, is the outcome of bilateral talks between both countries on Thursday in N’Djamena.

According to a communiqué issued at the end of President Buhari’s one-day official visit to Chad, both leaders agreed on the need to quickly make the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) fully operational to effectively combat terrorism in North-East Nigeria and “everywhere” that Boko Haram operates.

President Buhari and President Deby called on the international community to provide the Lake Chad Basin Commission and neighbouring countries with all necessary support to combat terrorism and insurgency

“Both Heads of State agreed that the war on Boko Haram should be supported by emergency development initiatives in areas affected by this insurgency group.

“This will help to overcome the harmful effects faced by local populations,’’ the communiqué said.

President Buhari paid tribute to the gallantry of Chadian soldiers who have engaged in operations against Boko Haram and condoled the families of their comrades who were killed in action.

While in the Chadian capital, President Buhari also held a closed-door meeting with Major-General Tukur Buratai of Nigeria, who was recently appointed Force Commander of the MNJTF, with headquarters in N’Djamena.

Boko Haram: Buhari Demands More Action On Multi-National Task Force

Boko HaramThe Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, has called on member-countries of the Lake Chad Commission to redouble their efforts to intensify the operations of the Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF) established to tackle the Boko Haram insurgency.

Speaking on Thursday in N’djamena during bilateral talks between Nigeria and Chad, Buhari noted that the security of Nigeria and her neighbours was intrinsically linked, and this makes it very essential that they cooperate on security issues in a robust and sustained manner.

The President said that he was quite certain that the MNJTF, which comprises Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon will be able to secure and stabilise all the areas affected by the Boko Haram insurgency when it becomes fully deployed and functional.

President Buhari also reaffirmed his conviction that with greater cooperation between Nigeria and her neighbouring countries, the Boko Haram insurgency would be brought to an end very soon.

His remarks came on the heels of Wednesday’s appointment of Major-General Tukur Buratai of Nigeria as the Force Commander of the reorganised MNJTF, which also has Benin Republic as honorary member.

The President thanked Chad for its invaluable support in the fight against insurgency and terrorism.

“Your troops have stood shoulder to shoulder and fought gallantly with ours in the fight against the forces of evil.

“This is a remarkable show of good neighbourliness, which we must reinforce in the years ahead,’’ he told President Idriss Deby Itno.

President Buhari, who is on his first visit to Chad, after assuming office as President of Nigeria, expressed concern that the insurgency has taken a huge toll on citizens of both countries, many of whom have been forced to flee their homes.

The President said that the harrowing images of displaced citizens of both countries, in search of safety and succour, must spur their governments and others in the sub-region to do more “to restore their dignity and give them the relief they need”.

On the bilateral relations between Nigeria and Chad, President Buhari noted that both countries were bound by “nature’’, adding that they must therefore work together to find lasting solutions to issues of border management, migration and movement of goods and services.

The President, who had earlier thanked President Deby for attending his inauguration ceremony on May 29 in Abuja, said that he would return to Nigeria with the assurance that Nigeria and Chad are poised to intensify their cooperation.

President Buhari’s decision to relocate the Nigerian Military Command center from Abuja to Maiduguri also received some commendation from the Chadian President.

President Deby believes the decision, which was announced in President Buhari’s inaugural address, was a right step towards restoring peace and security to states affected by terrorism, and the sub-region.

He assured President Buhari that Chad will continue to work with Nigeria to achieve lasting peace and security in the sub-region, given their historic, cultural and economic ties.

African Union Backs 7,500 Troops Regional Force To Fight Boko Haram

African UnionThe African Union has endorsed a West African plan to set up a regional task force of 7,500 to fight Islamist Boko Haram militants, a senior official said on Thursday.

Neighbours Nigeria, Cameroon, Niger, Chad and Benin agreed earlier in January to call on the African Union (AU) to seek U.N. Security Council support for their plan to take on insurgents who are fighting to create an Islamic state in northern Nigeria.

Boko Haram has made incursions into neighbouring Cameroon and threatens the stability of a region that includes Niger and Chad. Benin lies on Nigeria’s western border.

“We are thinking of a force of 7,500 women and men. The next step is to submit (approval) to the U.N. Security Council,” the Commissioner of the AU’s Peace and Security Council, Smail Chergui, told reporters on the sidelines of an African summit in Addis Ababa.

Tackling Boko Haram was top of the agenda at the meeting of African leaders and officials.

“Hopefully now with this concept, this force will be better organised and we can achieve the goal that we are looking for, that is to really stop the killing and these barbaric acts of Boko Haram,” Chergui said.

A U.N. mandate could help draw international assistance for the African regional force.

The African group plans to meet next week in Cameroon to draw up a “concept of operations” to cover strategy, rules of engagement, command and control, and related issues, Chergui said.

Senior officials have told Reuters that each of the five nations would contribute a battalion and each contingent would be based within its national borders with operations coordinated from Chad’s capital, N’Djamena.

Boko Haram has seized control of parts of north-east Nigeria and killed thousands in a six-year insurgency.

On Thursday, President Goodluck Jonathan visited Adamawa, one of three states placed under a state of emergency because of the insurgency.

Speaking in the state capital, Yola, he said the army had just recaptured the town of Michika, leaving only one of Adamawa’s Local Government Areas, Madagali, in the hands of militants.

Military sources told the BBC there had been a fierce battle for Michika and troops were carrying out mopping-up operations in surrounding villages. They cautioned that it was too early to say the army was in full control of the area.

Plane Carrying Arms Intercepted In Kano

PlaneA Russian aircraft loaded with military arms and ammunition has been held at the Malam Aminu International Airport in Kano.

The plane en-route to N’Djamena, the capital of the Republic of Chad was apprehended at the early hours of Saturday.

According to sources close to the airport security in Kano, the plane’s cabin crew are currently detained for questioning.

Efforts to speak with officials at the airport was not successful, but eyewitnesses said the planes landed around 2:00am local time on Saturday and were surrounded by officers of the Nigeria Air Force.

Last week, however, the Nigerian government had said it is looking to buy arms from Russia to boost military efforts in the fight against Boko Haram terrorists.

The decision was made after several rejected appeals to the US and UK for weapons and helicopter gunships to fight Boko Haram.

Reports released on Monday by Damina Advicers, a global political risk consulting firm gave the indication.

The report says Russia is eager to increase its leverage over other major oil producers, and find new markets for its sanctioned local arms manufacturers.

It says the Russian government has in recent weeks engaged in talks over a multi-billion dollar arms deal and technical advisory mission to help the Nigerian army defeat the insurgents.

It is not clear what the arms in the seized aircraft are meant for.

At Least 4 Dead In Chad Coup Attempt: Security Sources

At least four people were killed in a gunfight in the Chadian capital in what authorities said was a plot against President Idriss Deby’s government, security sources said on Thursday.

Chad has a long history of political instability and Deby himself led rebel troops into the capital N’Djamena in 1990 to seize power. But the landlocked nation started producing oil a decade ago and Deby, who has won four elections, has become an ally of the West against Islamist militants in the region.

“Between four and eight people were killed in fighting at a military barracks in the east of N’Djamena,” said a police source, asking not to be identified. The clash took place late on Wednesday.

A military officer said at least a dozen people had been killed in separate clashes in a residential neighborhood, adding that a list of future government officials had also been discovered there – implying evidence of a coup plot.

Chad Communications Minister, Hassan Sylla Bakary, told state radio there had been “an attempt to destabilize the state”. He said earlier that a small group had been conspiring for months, but gave no details of who was involved.

The streets of the capital were calm by midday on Thursday with banks and shops open. Residents clustered around radio sets on street corners, or watched television in cafes.

The sources said security forces had made several arrests within the army and had detained at least one opposition member of parliament, Saleh Maki.

Deby sent about 2,000 troops to Mali this year to help drive out Islamist fighters who had seized the northern two-thirds of the country, earning him the gratitude of France which spearheaded the military campaign there.

The intervention, as well as a decision not to defend the president of neighboring Central African Republic from a rebel takeover in March, highlighted Deby’s position as a regional power broker. But he has plenty of enemies at home and abroad.

The UFR, a Chadian rebel coalition that laid down its weapons in 2010, warned in March that it would relaunch its rebellion after Deby failed to enter talks with it.

Last week Deby accused neighboring Libya of letting Chadian mercenaries set up a training camp on its soil for use in trying to destabilize his country, a charge Tripoli denied.

Residents in N’Djamena, where Deby narrowly survived a rebel offensive in 2008, remained in the dark about the latest events.

“We’d like to get more information about this group the government has said was behind the plot,” said Khamis Mahamat, a trader.