Chadian National Army
(Armée national tchadienne, ANT)
Chad's armed forces, l’Armee National du Tchad (ANT), is divided into its land forces and air forces. Its overall strength is approximately 25,000 soldiers. Much of the effective leadership is drawn from President Deby’s Zaghawa ethnic group. Deby's power base, the army, comprises mainly troops from the president's Zaghawa ethnic group and is commanded by loyalists. It is considered one of the best in Sahel. According to the International Crisis Group think tank, defence spending accounts for between 30 and 40 percent of Chad's annual budget.
The Chad Government is pursuing plans to reduce the ANT’s personnel strength and professionalize the military. Chad participates in the Trans-Sahel Counterterrorism Partnership, of which one element is a U.S. Government military-to-military assistance program that helps participant countries counter terrorist operations, border incursions, and trafficking of people, illicit materials, and other goods.
The Chadian army is one of the most powerful in the region. Compared to the 5-7,000 men of the CAR army, or the 7,800 Malian soldiers, Chad is indeed figure of military power in the region, with some 30,000 troops, with moreover a significant artillery strength. Information on the structure, divisions and ranks of the Chadian police and security forces is scarce. The Chadian National Army, the name of the official army of Chad, founded in 1960 following independence vis-à-vis the country France . According to the Constitution of the Republic of Chad, its mission is "to defend the territorial integrity, national unity, to guarantee national independence and security of the country against any aggression or external threat."(Article 193 of the Constitution. It consists of an army, a police force and an Air Force.
One weakness of the Chadian army the lack of professionalism, starting with violent behavior vis-à-vis the civilian population. Certainly the dark times of the "pacification" of South conducted after taking power in 1982 by Hissène Habré - particularly during the massacres of "Black September" in 1984 in the region of Sarh - now seem over. But the TAA soldiers still guilty of abuses. On several occasions, international organizations such as Human Rights Watch have particularly pointed to the attacks by the Chadian army against civilians, particularly in the northwest of the Central African Republic. In March 2008, the organization is denounced "the many cross-border attacks (Chadian army) against villages (...) killing civilians, burning villages, and stealing cattle. "The presence of child soldiers within the military has also long been alleged against the Chadian government, until these children are officially demobilized in 2007.
Since the signing of the peace agreement with Sudan in 2010, President Idriss Deby has undertaken, in his words, an operation of "cleansing" of the army. This was according to him to professionalize the institution, to reign there "order and discipline" and to purge "scabby sheep and gravediggers of the army must make the beret and military insignia before end of operations." The reform provided better pay and better training of the armed forces, but also a declining enrollment. A simple slimming cure or real will to change the Chadian army? It is too early to answer. By sending such a large number of soldiers in Mali, well beyond its traditional scope of action Deby obviously pursuing a diplomatic objective. The first reactions to the arrival of his troops met expectations, but no doubt that the behavior of his soldiers will be closely monitored.
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Mainly composed of members of the Zaghawa ethnic group, that of President Idriss Deby, the Chadian National Army (ANT), however, also has its weaknesses ... and even some black spots inherited from a bloody civil war.
The Presidential (or Republican) Guard also functioned as a regular fighting force). However, the Guard was disbanded in late 2005 due to coup issues and the men assigned to regular army units. It is likely the disbanded Guard had strength of 3,000, not 5,000 as usually assumed. A new Guard has been formed, with 1,650 troops, none of whom can be from the disbanded units. The dissolution of the Republican Guard and its replacement with the Direction Generale de Service and Securite des Institutions de l'Etat (DGSSIE) came in November 2005. The DGSSIE was created to provide security for the President and other high level government officials and to defend "independence, national unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity" of Chad. The DGSSIE had 1,640 personnel and was attached to the Presidency and commanded by officers nominated by the President by decree.
The presence of French military forces in Chad appeared to have a significant stabilizing influence, although they have refrained from intervening in the 2006 hostilities between rebel groups and the Government. Altogether, over 1,000 French troops, supported by significant air assets, were based in Chad. By implementing the operations Manta (1983) and Hawk (1986), the French army brought the army a decisive help deal with Libyan troops, allied to the Chadian opposition Goukouni Oueddeï.
President Idriss Deby carried out a military shake-up on 15 November 2005. The changes include the chiefs of the Armed Forces, Gendarmerie, Nomadic Guard, and National Police. The most surprising change was the removal of Deby relative, General Mahamat Saleh Ibrahim, who had served as Nomadic Guard Commandant since Deby came to power. Two weeks earlier, the Government announced the dissolution of the Presidential Guard and replaced it with a new presidential security force. Many of the newly-appointed commanders are relatives of Deby, the new Armed Forces chief Tirgo, and the new Gendarmerie Commander. These changes come in the aftermath of military desertions over the past two months and represent an attempt to weed out disloyal officers and instill some discipline into the military.
On November 15, two days after attacks on two military installations, the Government of Chad announced changes within the top ranks of the military leadership. (Ref A) Deby dismissed Armed Forces Chief Mahamat Saleh Kaya and replaced him with the former director of the Gendarmerie Banayanan Kossingar, who was promoted from colonel to general in order to assume the position. Kaya's removal came as no surprise after he refused to fire on the military deserters in the east and persuaded Deby to negotiate instead. One general who was offered the position said that he refused the job. In his opinion, Deby had to reach down to find someone that he could trust and that Banayanan is a tough, no-nonsense professional who can be counted on to do a good job. Kaya was named as a military advisor in the Presidency.
The more surprising move was Deby's replacement of his uncle, Mahamat Saleh Ibrahim, who was the Commandant of the Nomadic Guard with an ethnic Gorane, Colonel Moussa Sougui Haware. Ibrahim was considered Deby's most loyal family and military member, who according to a Deby family member, usually keeps his opinions to himself. He had recently disagreed with Deby over the path the country was on and paid for it with his job. Presidential military advisor Moussa Haroun Tirgo was named the director of the National Police. Another family source said that this appointment may have been made so that Tirgo is also in charge of police intelligence, which Deby may now consider essential to his ability to remain in power. The new Gendarmerie Commander is Tirgo's cousin, Col. Abakar Abdelkerim Daoud. Another Deby relative, Colonel Abakar Youssouf Mahamat Itno was moved from the now defunct Presidential Guard Commander to the position of Army Chief.
Many of the newly appointed regional military and gendarmerie commanders are related to Deby, Tirgo, or the newly-appointed Gendarmerie Commander Abakar Abdelkerim Daoud. There are more ethnic Goranes in key positions. Another important appointment was that of Colonel Mahamat Souleyman Ousmane as the regional military commander for the Lake Chad area. An ethnic Zaghawa, he has a reputation for being exceptionally brutal and reportedly may have served prison time in the United States for murder.
The change in military leadership followed on the heels of the dissolution of the Republican Guard and its replacement with the Direction Generale de Service and Securite des Institutions de l'Etat (DGSSIE). The DGSSIE was created to provide security for the President and other high level government officials and to defend "independence, national unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity" of Chad. The DGSSIE will have 1,640 personnel and is attached to the Presidency and commanded by officers nominated by the President by decree.
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