Chad: Peacekeepers Come Looking To Fail


May 31,2008: For the last two weeks, the government has had three armed helicopters (an armed Mi-171 transport helicopter and two Mi-35 helicopter gunships) operating along the Sudan border. This was to discourage attacks by Sudan backed rebel groups in the area. Sudan is still accusing Chad of supporting the May 10th attack on the Sudanese capital. The 1,200 man JEM rebel force lost at least a hundred men killed in the fighting, and several hundred wounded. But the JEM force was able to retreat, and drive back to Darfur in over a hundred trucks and smaller vehicles. Someone paid for the vehicles and heavy weapons, but no one is taking credit. In the past, Libya was often ready to finance rebel groups, but insists that it has given up that sort of thing. The most likely other suspect is the Chad government. They deny any connection. In response to the attack in Sudan, there was an increase in violence along the border, with small groups of gunmen attacking police and army patrols.

The normal violence along the Sudan border continues. Basically, bandits and rebels continue to raid around the refugee camps and plunder the foreign aid groups. The European peacekeepers slowly arriving are expected to improve the security around these camps. That may be all the peacekeepers can do. Since the rebels and bandits can hide out on the Sudan side of the border, you have to catch them on the move or in the act. That's why the peacekeepers are so keen on getting helicopters or UAVs into the area. The Sudan border is 1,300 kilometers long, and over half of that is alive with these rebels and bandits. It will be a large scale game of hide and seek, with the bandits having an edge. That's because the bandits risk death if caught, while the peacekeepers only earn some frustration if they fail. Thus the bandits are likely to win this one, as they have the greater motivation.




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