Chad: Gunmen Living Off American Charity


August 17, 2009:  The refugee camps of eastern Chad continue to be a magnet for bandits (who steal from the refugees and aid workers) and Sudanese rebel groups (who live off the camps, often keeping their families there.) There are two or three attacks a day on foreign aid workers, including raids on their camps, to loot all the goodies within. Vehicles are stolen, and there have been a few kidnappings. The UN has been unable to convince many nations to send peacekeepers, and locals hired for security are often of uncertain reliability and loyalty. One of the largest economic activities in eastern Chad is food distribution by foreign aid groups, and agricultural assistance programs hoping to improve local food production. Both activities are largely paid for by the United States. Most of the aid workers, however, come from dozens of non-U.S. NGOs, each of them in the area to support other programs.

August 14, 2009: The UN's air service almost lost half its aircraft, until the U.S. stepped up and provided the money to keep the chartered aircraft flying for another month. The UN depends on the United States to pay for most of the relief operations in Chad. The UN air service makes it possible to quickly move aid workers and refugees around Chad, as well as getting them in and out of the country. There are few roads in eastern Chad, and no scheduled air service.

August 9, 2009: Chad and Libya signed seven agreements to increase trade and cooperation between the two countries (which have been at war as recently as the 1980s, and long disputed ownership of territory in northern Chad.) Most of the food aid for Chad is trucked through Libya.


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