Chad: Rebels Retreat to Rebuild and Return


February 14, 2008: The government wants the UN to move nearly 300,000 Darfur refugees somewhere else. The rebels along the border live off these refugee camps, and it was this source of supply that helped make possible the recent rebel attempt to take the capital. The government says that if the UN doesn't act, the army will force the refugees back into Sudan. Meanwhile, the first European peacekeepers, delayed by the recent fighting, are to start arriving next week. The Chad rebels have already declared the peacekeepers as enemies. Assuming the peacekeeping force is active, the rebels won't have another chance to make a run for the capital.

February 11, 2008: The remnants of the rebel force (about 150 vehicles) that attacked the capital is retreating towards the south, where the borders of Chad, Sudan and Central African Republic meet. The army is in pursuit, and believes that the rebels are running out of fuel. But the rebel vehicles probably have enough fuel to reach Sudan, and their camps. Apparently about a third of the rebel force were Sudanese. The Chad rebels are a coalition of groups that feel president Deby is not sharing power, and the new oil revenue, fairly. Some of the rebel leaders are related to Deby (the head of the RFC rebels is his nephew), which makes it something of a family squabble. This rebellion wouldn't amount to much without the support of Sudan, which provides sanctuary in Sudan, as well as weapons and equipment.

February 10, 2008: Sudanese aircraft bombed several towns near the Chad border, sending over 10,000 people fleeing into Chad.

February 4, 2008: After a weekend of fighting, a force of some 2,000 rebels lost their attempt to take the capital and moved back towards Sudan. The government had about 4,000 troops, and there were over a thousand casualties (with nearly 200 dead, including civilians caught in the crossfire). About 40,000 civilians fled the city. Government losses included the head of the army. The 1,400 French troops held the airport, and continued to provide the government with aerial photos of the situation (rebels around the capital, and what's going on along the Sudan border.)


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