civil war has revived, with most of the rebel groups renouncing the recent
peace deal, and back at war with the government. Meanwhile, the 4,500 European
peacekeepers are on hold because they cannot find a way to get the needed
helicopters to support them. There's also a reluctance to move into a situation
that will apparently require peace making (and casualties) rather than
peacekeeping. The NGO aid groups in Chad are very upset at all this, as the
increased violence makes it more difficult to supply over 400,000 refugees in
NGO administered camps.
Rebels have clashed with
the army at least four times in the last week. Hundreds have died, most of them
rebels. The army has a major advantage in the form of several French warplanes.
Chad also has some armed helicopters.
The French air attacks have angered the rebels to the point where the
rebels have openly "declared war" on France and threatened to target
French soldiers if the French led peacekeeping force ever shows up. The rebels
are upset because the peace deal calls for many of them to turn in their
weapons. Eastern Chad is a rough neighborhood, the government is not trusted,
and no one wants to be unarmed.
There are already about
1,100 French troops in Chad. Like most former French colonies in Africa, France
offers military assistance to any government that seems to have control over
most of the country. France may have to go it alone, and send in more of its
own troops. The other peacekeeper nations are less attached to Chad, and
reluctant to send their soldiers into what is turning into a very violent part
of the world.