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Chad Armed Factions

Since independence in 1960, Chad faced recurrent violent conflict and political instability, which have hindered the emergence of strong State institutions and democratic governance in the country. Moreover, successive military coups have contributed to a culture of violence still prevailing in the country. The lack of political stability and insecurity have also seriously hampered economic development, despite prospects of high revenues from the new oil industry.

The situation in eastern Chad was a direct consequence of the crisis in Darfur and that Janjaweed militia and other armed groups supported by the Sudan kept attacking the population and attempting to destabilize Chad. The Security Council had condemned the rebel attacks on N’Djamena in February 2008 and the activities of illegal armed groups.

On 12 December, 2007, three of the main armed opposition groups within Chad – the Union Forces for Democracy (UFDD), the Rassemblement des forces pour le changement (RFC) and the Union des forces pour la democratie et le developpement fondamentale (UFDD-F) – issued a statement that they had formed an alliance, the Resistance Nationale. The alliance was composed of an executive committee comprised of leaders from each of the armed groups, to coordinate attacks aimed at overthrowing President Deby.

A reduction in tensions between the Governments of the Sudan and Chad was essential for lasting regional security, as was both Governments abiding by their obligations under the Dakar Agreement of 13 March 2008, the Tripoli Agreement of 8 February 2006 and other bilateral agreements

After several attacks by rebel movements (2005-2009) supported by Khartoum, which almost took N'Djamena (February 2008), the Chadian army eventually won a clear victory in May 2009. After a significant international presence, from 2008 to 2010 in eastern Chad and north-eastern CAR (UNSC Resolution 1778), through MINURCAT, the UN mission, EUFOR Chad-CAR military force originally provided by the EU and raised by the United Nations in March 2009 (resolution 1861), signed an agreement with Sudan January 15, 2010 ended the Crusaders support to rebellions which threatened both countries. A joint Chad-Sudan joint force of 3000 men and reinforced since then to 4 000, was put in place to secure the border and end the actions of rebel groups. Chad and Sudan have announced ambitious programs of cooperation in the economic and infrastructure (road and rail). Sign of the consolidation of peace, President Bashir attended the inauguration of President Déby in August 2011. President Déby participate in the mediation of the Darfur conflict. He supported the Doha peace agreement for Darfur of 2011 (DDPD) and hosted repeatedly Darfurian Sudanese officials and political leaders. The situation in eastern Chad stabilized, but the area had other risks: violence between Arab and non-Arab groups, the presence of bandits or not rallied former rebels, refugee camps in Darfur (350,000) and displaced Chad (90 000).

On 25 May 2010, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1923 (2010) by which it decided, inter alia, to extend the mandate of MINURCAT until 31 December 2010 and reduce its military component to 2,200 military personnel (1,900 in Chad and 300 in the Central African Republic). The Council also took note of the commitment of the Government of Chad to assume full responsibility for the security and protection of the civilian population in eastern Chad, including refugees, internally displaced persons, returnees and host communities. Furthermore, the Council requested the establishment of a joint Government of Chad/United Nations High-level working group to assess on a monthly basis the situation on the ground with respect to protection of civilians. Moreover, it decided, inter alia, that the Mission would select, mentor, monitor, train, advise and facilitate support to elements of the Chadian Détachement Intégré de Sécurité (DIS).

  1. UFDD - Union of Forces for Democracy and Development (UFDD) is Chad’s main rebel group - an Arab-dominated rebel group, is the largest Chadian rebel force opposed to President Deby. The group is led by Mahamat Nouri, who was a member of Deby’s cabinet until breaking with him in 2006 and launching the UFDD. The UFDD is composed of smaller armed factions including the United Front for Democratic Change (FUC), the Chadian Democratic Revolutionary Council (CDRT), and the Union of Forces for Progress and Democracy. The UFDD has several 1000 active members. The UFDD is accused of conducting joint operations with the Sudanese Janjaweed that target refugee camps in eastern Chad.
  2. UFDDF - Union of Forces for Democracy and Development-Fundamental (Union des Forces pour la Démocratie et le Développement-Fondamental, UFDDF or UFDD/Fondamental) – the UFDDF is a former splinter groups of the UFDD. It was led by Abdelwahid Aboud.
  3. RFC - Rally of Democratic Forces (RaFD) – contains less than 1 000 combatants. The RFC is composed mainly of defectors from Chad’s Republican Guard and is active in the area north of Abeche. It is led by President Deby’s uncle and former chief of staff, Timane Erdimi. The RFC is also associated with the Concorde Nationale Tchadieme (CNT), which is led by Hassan Saleh al-Djinedi and has several 1000 active members. The RaFD is a Zaghawa dissident group, the same ethnic group as President Deby. It is thought to be a separate and growing rebel force in southern Chad, which also seeks to gain support for organizing early elections which it hopes will lead to the appointment of his successor and the cessation of his term as President.
  4. The Rally for Democracy and Change (RLD) : Led by Mohamed Nour, the RLD formed late in 2005 and operates out of Sudan’s Darfur region, launching attacks into eastern Chad. The RLD is made up of members of local ethnic groups and army deserters opposed to President Deby. It is loosely allied with SCUD. "Nour, 35, said RDL was formed four months ago and had bases in Darfur. He is from the Tama tribe, which spans both sides of the border, and took part in the rebellion that ousted Hissene Habre as president and brought Deby to power in 1990. But he said Deby had become corrupt and worse than Habre while in power, so he decided to move into armed opposition. ‘Then I came to Darfur and set up military camps."
  5. The United Front for Democratic Change (FUCD or FUC), a rebel group composed of eight different factions including the RLD and headed by Mahamout Nour, came to prominence in early 2006 with raids in numerous villages as well as a failed siege of the capital, N’Djamena. The group demands the resignation of Chadian President, Idriss Deby and is believed to be both aligned with and funded by the al-Bashir government in Khartoum. “Analysts say the rebel United Front for Democratic Change (FUCD), a loose but fractious alliance of opponents of Deby who carried out the attack on N’Djamena, includes Chadian Arab groups who are pro-Khartoum. “If they take power in Chad, they are likely to cooperate with Khartoum militarily to attack the refugees in Darfur…Khartoum is backing them precisely for this purpose”, says Suliman Baldo, Africa program director of the Brussels-based international Crisis Group.”

United Front for Democratic Change (FUCD)

A significant number of Chad's army officers deserted to join Chad's United Front for Democratic Change (FUCD - Front Uni pour le changement démocratique) trying to overthrow Chad President Idriss Deby, who had been in power since 1990. It is a coalition of rebel groups led by Mahamat Nour, from bases in Darfur along the Chad-Sudan border. With Sudanese support, Nour pulled together an array of smaller rebel groups under a larger umbrella called the FUCD (United Front for Democracy and Liberty).

The May 2004 coup attempt by senior Zaghawa military commanders was primarily driven by discontent over Déby’s lack of support to the Darfurian Zaghawa and his cooperation with Khartoum. The affair was managed peacefully, in part to avoid exposing divisions within the tribe to the rest of the country. Yet, those divisions have continued to grow, encouraged by Déby’s decision to alter the constitution so he could run for a third term and grumblings over domestic issues such as unpaid salaries.

In December 2005 the Sudan-backed RDL (Rally for Democracy and Liberty), led by Khartoum’s hand-picked Chadian dissident Mahamat Nour, attacked the town of Adre. The core of the RDL included elements which had been fighting beside Khartoum-supported Arab militias in West Darfur, where the Chadian Arab presence is particularly high thanks to a history of displacement from Chad’s civil war. The RDL was defeated badly at Adre, but even more embarrassing than the loss was the exposure of Khartoum’s direct involvement.

On 10 April 2007 Chad's government admitted that its forces crossed the border with Sudan, where it clashed with the army. A minister said Chadian soldiers were in "hot pursuit" of rebels who crossed the border and then came into contact with Sudanese soldiers. Sudan condemned the raid, saying 17 soldiers were killed and has reportedly summoned the Chad ambassador. Eastern Chad and Darfur have a similar ethnic make-up and the two governments have swapped charges of backing rebels. Several peace deals failed to ease the tension. This was the first time the two armies had clashed after months of tension but Chad denied a deliberate attack.

Mongo is the principal city in the Guera region of central Chad. After the reconciliatiion with FUC, the Chadian army had turned over the old caserne in Mongo to FUC, which by 2007 effectively controlled the entire Guera. Of the approximately 2000 FUC soldiers were in Mongo (out of some 9000 in the country). The FUC presence posed a continuing security challenge not only in Mongo but throughout eastern Chad. The Governor of Guera, Amadou Ahidjou, was a former leader in the rebel group MDJT.

Principal Armed Factions, 1975-87

  1. ANL - see National Liberation Army.
  2. Armed Forces of the North (Forces Armees du Nord-FA)- Composed of FROLINAT units that remained loyal to Habre following his break from Goukouni Oueddei in 1976. Consisting at first of only a few hundred Toubou and some Hajerai and Ouaddaian fighters, FAN began its operations from bases in eastern Chad, where it received help from Sudan. Driven from N'Djamena back to its eastern refuge after the Libyan incursion of 1980, FAN scored a series of victories over Goukouni's GUNT forces in 1982, which culminated in the recapture of N'Djamena and Habre's assumption of the presidency. FAN became the core of the new national army, FANT, in January 1983.
  3. CCFAN - see Second Liberation Army of FROLINAT.
  4. CDR - see Democratic Revolutionary Council.
  5. Chadian Armed Forces (Forces Armies Tchadiennes-FAT)- The army of the central government of President F6lix Malloum until his downfall in 1979, when the head of the gendarmerie, Wadel Abdelkader Kamougue, assumed command. Joined by gendarmerie units, FAT became a regional force representing primarily the Sara ethnic group of the five southern prefectures. It joined with GUNT forces fighting against Hissein Habre and was a recipient of aid from Libya. FAT began to disintegrate during 1982 as a result of defeats inflicted by Habre's FAN. Most remaining soldiers accepted integration into FAN or resumed their insurgency as codos.
  6. Chadian National Armed Forces (Forces Armies 'lationales Tchadiennes-FANT)-The army of the central government since January 1983, when pro-Habre forces were merged. Consisting of about 10,000 soldiers at that time, it swelled with the assimilation of former FAT and codos rebels from the south and, in 1986, with the addition of GUNT soldiers who had turned against their Libyan allies. Freshly outfitted by France and the United States, FANT drove Libyan troops from their bases in northern Chad in a series of victories in 1987.
  7. codos - see commandos.
  8. commandos (codos)- Southern guerrilla groups, active from 1983 to 1986, that resisted domination of their region by Habre's army. Many were veterans of the government army of the 1970s or Kamougue's FAT. Totaling as many as 15,000, they operated independently under such names as "Red Codos," "Thunder Red Codos," "Coconut Palms," "Hope," and "Green Eagles." The Red Codos under Colonel Alphonse Kotiga were the most effective. Kotiga exercised some influence over the other groups and was instrumental in persuading them to abandon their insurgency by promises of rewards and rehabilitation. About 1,500 had been assimilated into FANT as of 1986.
  9. Democratic Revolutionary Council (Conseil Democratique Revolutionnaire - CDR) - Members were Chadians of Arab origin, most originating in Ouaddal Prefecture or Batha Prefecture, with close ties to Libya and receptive to some of the ideological precepts of Muammar al Qadhafi. After the death of its founder, Acyl Ahmat, the CDR was headed by Acheikh ibn Oumar. The most pro-Libyan faction in GUNT , it fought to prevent the defection of FAP units from Libya in 1986. Believed to number up to 3,000 at its peak in the early 1980s, the CDR dwindled to fewer than 1,000 adherents before it was battered by FANT attacks in 1987.
  10. FAN - see Armed Forces of the North.
  11. FANT - see Chadian National Armed Forces.
  12. FAO - see Western Armed Forces.
  13. FAP - see People's Armed Forces.
  14. FAT - see Chadian Armed Forces.
  15. First Liberation Army of FROLINAT - Operated in eastern Chad as one of the original armies of the FROLINAT insurgency under General Mohamed Baghlani. After Baghlani's death in 1977, its personnel gravitated to the First Volcan Army of Adoum Dana or Acyl Ahmat's New Volcan (see Volcan Forces). The First Liberation Army reemerged under Mahamat Abba Said in 1984, joining the GUNT (q.v.) coalition against Habre, but was one of the factions disapproving dependence on Libya.
  16. FROLINAT - see National Liberation Front of Chad.
  17. GUNT - see Transitional Government of National Unity.
  18. MPLT - see Third Liberation Army of FROLINAT.
  19. National Liberation Army (Armee Nationale de Libration- ANL) - The military wing of the GUNT coalition under Goukouni that had been formally constituted in October 1982 under the Transitional Government of National Unity).
  20. National Liberation Front of Chad (Front de Liberation Nationale du Tchad-FROLINAT)-See First Liberation Army of FROLINAT, Second Liberation Army of FROLINAT, and Third Liberation Army of FROLINAT.
  21. People's Armed Forces (Forces Armies Populaires-FAP) - Composed of followers of Goukouni after the schism with Habre in 1976. With an ethnic base in the Teda clan of the Toubou from the Tibesti area of northern Chad, the force was armed by Libya and formed the largest component of the GUNT coalition army opposing Habre's rule. FAP troops rebelled against their Libyan allies in the latter part of 1986. Many of them were subsequently integrated into the national army, FANT , and participated in the 1987 attempt to drive Libya out of Chadian territory.
  22. Popular Movement for the Liberation of Chad (Mouvement Populaire pour la Liberation du Tchad-MPLT) - see Western Armed Forces.
  23. Second Liberation Army of FROLINAT - One of the original groups in rebellion against the regime of Frangois Tombalbaye. The Second Liberation Army was composed of the Toubou active in Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti Prefecture, first under Goukouni's command and later under Habre's command. Renamed the Command Council of the Armed Forces of the North (Conseil de Commandement des Forces Armies du Nord-CCFAN), it was in a bitter struggle with the First Liberation Army in the early 1970s. After the rift between Habre and Goukouni in 1976, Habre's followers adopted the name of Armed Forces of the North (Forces Armies du Nord-FAN), and Goukouni's followers adopted the name of People's Armed Forces (Forces Armies Populaires-FAP).
  24. Third Liberation Army of FROLINAT - A small group from among the Kanembu people of western Chad, the Third Liberation Army splintered off from FAP in 1977; initially headed by Aboubaker Abderrahmane, it later became known as the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Chad (Movement Populaire pour la Liberation du Tchad-MPLT). In a subsequent split, part of the MPLT became the Western Armed Forces.
  25. Transitional Government of National Unity (Gouvernement d'Union Nationale de Transition-GUNT) - A coalition of factions occupying the north with the aid of Libya, GUNT formed the principal opposition to Habre after 1981. Its component factions included initially FAP, FAT, the CDR, the FAO, and Volcan Forces. The National Liberation Army (Arm& Nationale de Liberation-ANL) was formally constituted as the military arm of GUNT in October 1982. Although Goukouni served as commander in chief, the various GUNT military factions remained as distinct units under their individual commanders. In general usage, the term GUNT continued to be used to refer to the northern rebel army. After Goukouni's FAP mutinied against Libyan domination in 1986 and Goukouni was removed as head of GUNT, the remaining GUNT contingents under the CDR's Acheikh ibn Oumar were sometimes referred to as "Neo-GUNT" or "GUNT/CDR."
  26. Volcan Forces - The First Liberation Army of FROLINAT split up in 1977 into two Volcan (volcano) armies. The First Volcan Army of Adoum Dana was an ethnic Arab force receiving support from Sudan. It was absorbed into GUNT in 1981 and fought against Habre. New Volcan, the predecessor of the CDR, was commanded by Acyl Ahmat, a protege of Libya. Acyl aligned his followers with Goukouni against Habre in 1979. Although initially among the smallest elements (400 to 500 men), New Volcan constituted a corps of shock troops who were among the most resolute fighters in GUNT.
  27. Western Armed Forces (Forces Armees Occidentales-FAO) - An offshoot of the MPLT , the FAO recruited its forces mainly among the Kanembu group located along the shores of Lake Chad and enjoyed support from some political elements in Nigeria. Initially part of GUNT , the FAO had reportedly divided into pro- and anti-Goukouni factions. Its leader, Moussa Medela, rejected Acheikh ibn Oumar as head of GUNT after Goukouni was deposed at the close of 1986.

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