There are now 50,000
Central African Republic (CAR) refugees in southern Chad. In the east, some of
the over 300,000 refugees (most of them from Sudan) are being moved away from
the border, to better protect them from the Sudanese Arab militias that drove
the refugees out of Sudan in the first place, and Chadian rebels and bandits.
The refugee camps, and the relief agency facilities (headquarters, living
quarters and warehouses) remain a source of loot for all the irregular forces
in the area. About 3,000 refugees a week are still coming across the Sudan
border, to escape government and militia attacks on non-Arab villages.
In the capital, the government is
getting international pressure to release opposition politicians who were arrested
when rebels stormed into the capital last month. Some of those arrested were
known to be close to the rebels, but many simply opposed president Deby.
Meanwhile, the government is apparently using its victory over the RFC rebel
attempt to grab the capital, to resume secret negotiations with other rebel
groups. Chad is made up of dozens of tribal groups, most capable to producing
armed rebels if conditions are right. The feeling that they are not getting a
fair share of the new oil wealth is a new cause for people to feel slighted,
and a reason to start gunning for president Deby. The parliament has extended the State of
Emergency for another 15 days, to March 15th. This suspends many
legal protections for citizens, making Chad more of a police state.
European peacekeepers are slowly
arriving, with about 500 there now, and about 3,000 to arrive by the end of the
month. Some of the peacekeepers are commandos, and recon missions are being
carried out, along with the building of camps. That means, next month there
could be clashes between European Union (EU) peacekeepers and various armed
groups operating along the Sudanese border.