The peace deal is dead. The UFDD
sent a force to capture Abeche, the largest town in eastern Chad, and
headquarters for most of the aid organizations catering to the 250,000 refugees
in the region. A year ago, rebels raided the town, but left after 24 hours, as
army reinforcements approached. The rebels got away with many captured weapons.
Abeche is about 850 kilometers from the capital. This time, the army stopped
the rebel force before they got into the town. Over the weekend, another UFDD
column (of nearly a hundred vehicles) approached other towns, but were driven off.
French armed helicopters are assisting the Chadian army.
November 26, 2007: Along the Sudan border, troops
attacked a rebel (UFDD) convoy, destroying 40 vehicles, capturing 50 and
killing several hundred rebels. The UFDD later issued a press release denying
such a defeat, and insisting it was the government forces that got
November 25, 2007: Over the
weekend, rebel gunmen invaded several refugee camps and beat aid workers. One
security guard was shot. The UFDD and RFC rebels have renounced the peace deal,
and threatened violence. The refugee camps have become targets for all manner
of bandit groups and individual criminals.
November 24, 2007: Two of the
four rebel groups, UFDD (Union of Forces for Democracy and Development) and the
RFC ( Assembly of Forces for Change), declared that the government had not met
the terms of the peace deal signed last month. Thus the one month ceasefire was
over and these two were resuming combat.
November 15, 2007: The UN
peacekeeping force being organized for Chad is having trouble getting donor
nations to provide helicopters. Without choppers, the force will not be able to
cover the vast distances along the Chad-Sudan border. NATO peacekeepers in
Afghanistan have had the same problem, and are turning to leased helicopters,
with the crews receiving "hazardous duty" pay.