Chad: Southern Jihad Quickly Crushed

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July 9, 2008: UN and EU peacekeepers are trying to coordinate their operations in Darfur and Chad because, despite denials from the governments of those two countries, the ethnic violence in the region has spread to both countries and is interconnected. The peacekeepers want to make sure that the bad guys do not use that border as a way to get away from pursuers. Some peacekeeper commanders want the Darfur-Chad area to be considered a single theater of operations, and to ignore the border, just as the various paramilitary groups do.

Meanwhile, continued bandit activity has interrupted enough food shipments to drive up local food prices. Free foreign food aid isn't getting through either. The bandits that steal the food either take their loot to distant areas for sale, or the local merchants (who buy from the bandits) they sell it to store much of it away in order to jack up prices. Local food prices are over 50 percent higher than a year ago. The UN is trying to train, and equip, local police to better protect the roads, and food convoys. But this is a long term project. It will take more foreign, especially European (with helicopters) peacekeepers to make a dent in the bandit population (many of the rebel groups and pro-government paramilitaries moonlight as bandits)

July 3, 2008: The Red Cross has withdrawn several of its officials from Chad because of an increased threat to the security of foreign aid workers.

July 2, 2008: Some 300 kilometers southeast of the capital, a local holy man, or "marabout,"  organized a group of armed (mostly with primitive weapons) followers to launch a holy war ("Jihad") against local Christians. The 28 year old marabout refused to receive political and religious emissaries from the government. After 700 of the marabouts followers attacked the town of Kouno, burning down nearly 200 buildings (including four churches and a police station), the troops moved in, killing over 70 of the marabouts followers and dispersing the others. The marabout and seven of his lieutenants were arrested and taken back to the capital. The government considered the marabout a fairly common phenomenon, as such Islamic radical leaders are popular in this part of the world.

June 27, 2008: EU peacekeepers got a taste of the local madness when pro-government troops in the border town of Abeche, leaving at least one man dead and several wounded. It was apparently friendly fire, started when some troops did the customary celebration (of something or other) by firing into the air. That was misinterpreted as an attack, by another group of pro-government gunmen nearby, and the battle began.

 

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