In sharp contrast to eastern Chad,
the refugee camps of southern Chad are peaceful. About 17 percent of the
300,000 refugees in Chad are in the south. These are people fleeing civil war
in the Central African Republic (CAR). The big difference is there are not
trans-national tribes working both sides of the border. With Sudan, there are
powerful tribes with interests on both sides of the border. Sudan and Chad
battle each other by subsidizing these tribe-based rebel movements. Neither
country wants the hassle of a formal war, and prefers this proxy form of
conflict. No one will admit to anything, and the various rebel groups continue
to receive support. Sudan, however, has increased its reward for the leader of
JEM, to $2.5 million.
2008: The Sudanese accused Chad of
backing the JEM attack on Khartoum, and severed diplomatic and economic
relations. The border was closed. Sudan believed that Chad bankrolled the JEM
attack in retaliation for an April attack by Chad rebels on the Chad capital
(which got into the city and got pretty nasty.)
2008: In Sudan, the Darfur the Justice
and Equality Movement (JEM) rebels made a daring attack on the capital,
Khartoum. The rebels were stopped over a ten kilometers short of their goal. Because
of the danger of coups, and civil unrest, Khartoum is full of police and
troops, and fortifications. The chances of a few hundred JEM gunmen blasting
their way in, and accomplishing anything, are slim to none.
2008: It was thirty years ago today that
the Red Cross first began operating in Chad, to assist victims of a civil war.
For as long as anyone can remember, the dozens of tribes that occupy Chad have
been fighting each other.
2008: In the south, police arrested four EU peacekeepers. The four EU troops
were in civilian clothes, trying to pass as tourists, and carrying out a reconnaissance
mission. The EU and Sudan has signed a treaty that made EU troops immune from
arrest, and the EU is upset with the Chad government for violating this
agreement. There are about 2,400 EU troops in Chad, with another thousand or so
on the way.
2008: Foreign aid groups ended a two day
suspension of activity, in protest over the murder of one of their own,
apparently by bandits. Police and peacekeepers are seeking the killers, but
that will be difficult what with all the armed freelancers wandering around