Chad: The Bandit Kings Rule


October 11,2008:  So far this year, bandits have attacked foreign aid groups in eastern Chat over 120 times. As a result, several aid groups have halted operations and evacuated their personnel. The bandits are not bothered by the 3,300 EU peacekeepers, who are not authorized to go after the outlaws. The peacekeepers are there to defend what they can, but without a lot of helicopters, they can't get around enough to even keep track of the bandits. First the bandits, then the aid groups, figured that out, and the aid groups fled. The bandits had pretty much cleaned out the aid groups compounds and stolen many of their vehicles. There were very few encounters between the peacekeepers and the bandits (some of whom are Chadian or Sudanese rebels as well.) The Chadian army does not have a major presence on the eastern border, with most of the troops stationed further west, where foreign oil companies are preparing 70 new oil wells for production, and another hundred next year. The oil fields are producing about 130,000 barrels a day, and making many government officials rich. Some of that money goes to the army, to help keep the rebels away from the drilling and pumping operations. Oil revenue (over $1.5 billion so far this year), now makes up over half of government income. Little of it gets spent on the average Chadian, which is one of the reasons why there are so many rebels out there.

September 29, 2008: Chadian bandits crossed the Sudan border with 19 hostages (five German, five Italian, one Romanian tourist, and eight Egyptian guides).The bandits had seized their captives ten days earlier in western Egypt, and been chased through Sudan by police. The bandits were caught just before they reached Chad, and six of them were killed, and two arrested. But another 35 bandits made it across the border with their captives. The bandits had announced that they wanted $8.8 million for their captives. But once inside Chad, the bandits abandoned their captives as a force of Sudanese, Egyptian and European troops closed in. The rescue force promptly returned the uninjured tourists and their guides to Egypt. The bandits robbed their captives of everything but their clothes before taking off.  It's still unclear exactly who the bandits were. They appear to be members of a tribe that has clans on both sides of the Chad-Sudan border. They might also be Chad or Darfur (Sudan) rebels, which is also common. What these bandits were doing in northern Darfur (and then across the border into Egypt) is unclear. With the price of gas these days, that was an expensive trip.




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