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National Gendarmerie

The National Army (ANT), Republican Guard, gendarmerie (military police force), national police, nomadic guard (GNNT), and National Security Agency (ANS) are responsible for internal security. The ANT, gendarmerie, and GNNT report to the Ministry of Defense; the national police report to the Ministry of Public Security and Immigration; and the Republican Guard and ANS report to the president. The National Gendarmerie was a police force, organized into mobile platoons, and equipped with rifles, machine guns, and pistols. National Guard units were also in service throughout Chad, mostly serving guard duties or ceremonial duties in Fort-Lamy. The National Guard had a strength of about 3,500 in 1971.

Following independence Chad's army was created from southern troops that had served with the French army. Initially, the army was limited to 400 men, some Chadian officers and many French commissioned officers and NCOs. Other soldiers were transferred into a larger paramilitary security force, the National Gendarmerie. The continued insurgency necessitated further enlargement of the army, to a total of 3,800 men by 1971. The army formed a paratroop company from 350 Chadians trained by Israeli instructors at a base in Zaire. In addition to strengthening the regular army, the government increased mobile security companies of the National Gendarmerie, equipped as light infantry, to a strength of more than 1,600 men. The growing unpopularity of the country's first president, Francois Tombalbaye, impelled him to strengthen further the internal security forces and to employ a unit of Moroccan troops as his personal bodyguard. During the early 1970s, Tombalbaye dcubled the size of the National and Nomad Guard and augmented the National Gendarmerie considerably.

By early 1975, many observers believed that Tombalbaye had eroded his two main bases of support - the south and the armed forces - throughout the early 1970s Tombalbaye's criticism of the army's mediocre performance in the field had angered the officer corps and dissipated its loyalty. Other military grievances included frequent purges and reshufflings of the top ranks. In March 1975, Tombalbaye ordered the arrest of several senior military officers as suspects in yet another plot. On April 13, 1975, several units of N'Djamena's gendarmerie, acting under the initial direction of junior military officers, killed Tombalbaye during a mutiny.

Until 1979 the National Gendarmerie, a paramilitary body created in 1960, had primary responsibility for maintaining order in the countryside. The force had remained under the command of a French officer until 1971. Later, in 1979, headed by Habre's political rival, Kamougue, and composed mainly of southerners, the National Gendarmerie had been involved in the fighting around N'Djamena. It remained active as part of the southern resistance to Habre after the overthrow of the Malloum regime. The National Gendarmerie's basic units were twenty-five-man mobile platoons, which had responsibility for internal security and crowd control, and "brigades" (squads) of four to eight gendarmes, who performed ordinary police work in small towns and rural areas.

Another force, the paramilitary Chadian Security Companies (Compagnies Tchadiennes de Securite - CTS), organized by Tombalbaye in 1967, performed mainly constabulary functions in eastern Chad against smugglers, cattle rustlers, and dissidents. The CTS resisted the 1975 coup that overthrew Tombalbaye, and it was subsequently disbanded.

To replace the National Gendarmerie, the 1979 GUNT coalition formed a police unit of soldiers drawn from FAN and FAP, with token contributions from the other military factions. Mixed military patrols attempted to maintain order in the capital among the contending factions. After the Habre government had been installed in 1982, most of the previous functions of the National Gendarmerie were entrusted to the newly created PMT. Many of the latter's personnel were southerners who had rallied to the government; it was often popularly referred to as the "gendarmerie." In 1987 the PMT had an authorized strength of 1,600, but its personnel were poorly equipped, often armed with weapons confiscated from former codos. The PMT was nominally subject to the Ministry of Interior, and its field units were subject to the local prefect. In practice, the force came under military authority, and individual units were under jurisdiction of FANT military zone and subzone commanders.

The PMN, which in 1987 was under a military commander, Youssef Galmaye, was a branch of FANT; the force performed regular military police duties, assisted in control of prisoners of war, provided route and rear area security, and often took part in combat operations. Its authorized strength was 1,900, and the soldiers serving in it were better equipped than those of the PMT. Training was provided at a military police school organized by the French in 1986.

During the year 2006 the security situation sharply deteriorated as a result of fighting that involved rebel groups, government forces, armed militias, and civilians. Fighting occurred between government forces and antigovernment rebel groups along the eastern border with Sudan and the southern border with the Central African Republic (CAR). There was some thawing of relations between Chad and Sudan by mid-year, but by the end of the year Sudan's continued support for Chadian rebels prompted the government to accuse Khartoum of seeking to replace the Deby government with an "Arab regime." Violence between competing ethnic groups and bandit attacks on civilians occurred throughout the country. By year's end hundreds of persons were killed and injured, tens of thousands were displaced.

Chadian rebels hoping to oust Dby prior to the presidential elections scheduled for May 3 staged a failed attack on Ndjamena on April 13, 2006. On 13 April 2006, rebels attacked N'Djamena, where they were defeated by government Gendarmeie troops. The fighting resulted in hundreds of civilian deaths, in addition to injuries, extensive damage to homes and property, and the temporary displacement of hundreds of families. One local hospital reported treating 45 wounded civilians, some as young as five years old. While civilians in Ndjamena did not appear to have been specifically targeted or indiscriminately attacked by Chadian government or rebel forces, at least 291 people died in the fighting, including civilians, government soldiers and rebels. An estimated 250 suspected Chadian rebels who were captured during the coup attempt were held at the Gendarmerie Nationale in Ndjamena in inadequate detention facilities, and several detainees were subjected to torture or deliberately cruel treatment.

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Page last modified: 31-10-2016 18:56:50 ZULU