May 20, 2006:
Eastern Chad is now home for over 250,000 refugees, most of them in camps run by the UN and associated NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations). About 20 percent of the refugees are Chadians, fleeing the increasing violence between Chadian security forces and various rebel factions. Some of the guys with guns are just bandits. These gangs, plus raiders from Darfur, and many of the Chad rebels, prey on the refugee camps, as well as the relief organizations. For example, relief organizations, despite hiring locals as armed guards, have had some 30 of their vehicles stolen. Food supplies and equipment are also taken regularly. The UN wants to send in peacekeepers to guard the refugee camps and the movements of relief supplies and aid workers. The Chad government doesn't want foreign peacekeepers, but it unable to provide security along the Sudan border. There's not exactly a war going on along the frontier. It's more like a breakdown in law and order, and dozens of groups of armed men wandering around stealing whatever they can. These guys are not interested in fighting. If they encounter security forces, or another armed group, they may exchange some fire, and if the other guy doesn't flee, just move on.
May 16, 2006: Neither the UN, nor the Chad government, is making any effort to stop Darfur rebel groups from recruiting teenagers and young men in the Chad refugee camps. This reluctance may have something to do with the fact that the recruiters are often armed.
May 14, 2006: The official vote in the May 3rd presidential election was 77.5 percent for the incumbent, Idriss Deby. This was with a 61 percent turnout. But the turnout was nowhere near 61 percent, and the opposition largely boycotted the vote. Deby has become another "president-for-life" and must now live with a nation in a state of perpetual revolution.
May 12, 2006: While a peace deal is close in Darfur, Chad rebels say that this will have no impact on their fight against president Deby of Chad.