Operation Enduring Freedom - Chad
On March 11, 2004 news sources reported that a firefight had occurred between the Chad military and an Algerian terrorist group, Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC). This firefight, which is believed to have resulted in the death of some 43 GSPC members, apparently began in Niger and crossed into Chad. Reports indicate that the combat operations were supported by the United States, which provided communications, intelligence and reconnaissance support.
The fighting took place over two days. The group, led by a former Algerian soldier named Saifi Ammari and nicknamed "the Para," had been tracked across the Sahara from its bases in the Algeria-Mali border area.
While initial statements from the US State Department spokemen stated that US forces did not participate in the operations, subsequent reports indicate that US support included a Navy P-3 aircraft operating from Algeria and roughly 100 American servicemen.
On March 15, 2004, European Command issued a release indicating that according to Chad officials here, 3 Chadian army soldiers were killed and 16 were injured when they encountered and engaged a group of fighters from the Salafist Group for Call and Combat who had crossed from Niger into Chad between the cities of Zouarke and Wour, 600 kilometers North of here. Officials also said that 40 of the militants were killed and four were taken into custody.
While this and other operations in Africa conducted by the United States have received little publicity due to regional sensitivities, it is reported that this operation is part of a broader effort by the US to support Algeria, Mali, and Niger in dealing with the GSPC.
Three Chad soldiers were killed and 16 wounded.
On or about 15 March 2004 the U-S military delivered food, medical supplies and other assistance to Chad, to support government troops there who had battled suspected terrorists linked to al-Qaida. Two C-130 Hercules cargo planes delivered more than 19 (metric) tons of aid to Chad, including food, blankets and medical supplies. The rush mission was ordered by the U-S military's European Command, following a request from the government of Chad. The aircraft were from the 37th Airlift Squadron based at Ramstein Air Base, Germany.
Landing on the 7,700-foot runway just outside of Faya-Largeau, the crews taxi the C-130s amid scrub brush and sand. The temperature soars into the 100s at this one-building airport. More than three-dozen armed Chadians, ready to help download the aircraft, greeted the crews. With no heavy equipment in sight to unload the aircraft, the crew opts to "combat offload" the nine pallets of food, blankets and medical supplies. While the aircrew takes care of getting the aid off the aircraft and to the Chadian forces, members of the 86th Contingency Response Group from Ramstein handle security at the austere airfield where the aid is being delivered.
US supported anti-terror operations in Chad are not related to US aid and assistance provided unfer the Pan Safel Initiative. The Pan Sahel Initiative is a U.S. Department of State Security Assistance Program focusing on four countries in the Sahara region of Africa. The initiative supports U.S. national security interests combating terrorism and enhancing regional peace and security. It directly assists Mali, Niger, Chad and Mauritania in protecting their borders and exploiting opportunities to detect and deter terrorists by providing basic training and equipment.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|