Chad: Another Oil Despot, Another Civil War

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May 7, 2006: Election observers invited in from other African countries said they saw voter turnout of over 60 percent, while foreign journalists, diplomats and opponents of president Deby say turnout was less than ten percent. President Deby doesn't much care, because he has been told that, within five years, oil production will be up to 400,000 barrels a day (more than twice the current rate). That's annual sales of over $10 billion, and several billion dollars left for Deby to play with. Plenty enough to buy allies, and sufficient guns to keep enemies at bay. Deby has become another oil-rich dictator, and Chad is slipping into another of its many civil wars. This time, the prize is richer than it's ever been, although the oil production and shipping facilities are vulnerable to attack.

May 6, 2006: A UN aid worker was shot in eastern Chad. The aid effort, mainly to take care of over 200,000 refugees from Sudan, is a major source of revenue for local Chadians, and attracts bandits as well.

May 3, 2006: Another presidential election took place, which appears to be rigged like the ones in 1996 and 2001. President Deby seized power in 1990, and is not ready to give it up. Few of the country's 5.8 million registered voters appeared to show up to vote.

May 2, 2006: About 150 armed raiders from Sudan attacked a village on the border. At least four civilians were killed by the Arab men, believed to be one of the armed groups backed by the Sudanese government to drive out black African tribesmen. Originally this just meat black Sudanese, but now includes black Chadians as well. In this case, the raiders stole over a thousand cattle and horses. The attack was only a few miles from a large refugee camps full of Sudanese.

 

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