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Chad Insurgencies

Chad continued to prioritize counterterrorism efforts despite ongoing financial woes that affected its ability to meet even basic financial commitments, such as paying police and military salaries. Although financial hardships limited its ability to provide external counterterrorism assistance, Chad played a strong role in military operations in neighboring countries. Chad provided approximately 2,500 combat forces to the Lake Chad Region’s Multi-National Joint Task Force (MNJTF), which also includes Benin, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria. Chad continued to host the French government’s Operation Barkhane, France’s integrated counterterrorism mission for the Sahel region that has partnered with forces in the Sahel to degrade terrorist groups in the region. Chad continued to deploy 1,450 soldiers supporting the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). Chad is a member of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.

The military (ANT), gendarmerie, national police, the Chadian National Nomadic Guard (GNNT), and National Security Agency (ANS) are responsible for internal security. A specialized gendarmerie unit, the Detachment for the Protection of Humanitarian Workers and Refugees (DPHR), is responsible for security in refugee camps for both refugees and humanitarian workers. The ANT reports to the Ministry of Defense. The national police, GNNT, and DPHR are part of the Ministry of Public Security and Immigration. The ANS reports directly to the president.

Security forces are corrupt and involved in extortion. According to media reports, police also were involved in violence and arms trafficking. Impunity was a problem. Local media and civil society organizations report that members of the judicial police, an office within the national police with arrest authority, did not always enforce domestic court orders against military personnel or members of their own ethnic groups. There were isolated reports of former soldiers posing as active-duty soldiers and committing crimes with government-issued weapons.

Boko Haram (BH) and ISIS-West Africa (ISIS-WA) both continued to operate in the area around Lake Chad in 2018, taking advantage of porous borders to move among Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria. ISIS-WA and BH-associated fighters frequently attacked Chadian military forces and villages in Lake Prefecture. No Americans or American organizations were attacked, but one Chadian USAID grantee was among 23 killed in a September attack on the northern edge of Lake Chad.

Under the Suppression of Acts of Terrorism law (2015), penalties for terrorist offenses increased and can include capital punishment. Some civil society organizations expressed concern that the law was overly general, and could be used to target activists and government critics to curtail freedoms of expression and association. Law enforcement leadership publicly affirmed the requirement for all law enforcement officers to respect human rights. There were fewer reports in 2018 of arbitrary extrajudicial actions by the government or its agents.

In April 2018, following recommendations of judges investigating the cases, a court authorized the release of 118 Boko Haram suspects whom the government had insufficient evidence to detain. The remaining detainees with alleged terrorist charges were in Koro-Toro prison awaiting trial. The approximately 16 children and women the government held in 2017 in the Amsinene prison were released in June 2018. The children had been kept in custody not because of their involvement in any criminal offense, but because no other child care was available.

The Government of Chad continued its active participation in anti-terrorism training courses in 2018, including joint border security training with Cameroon. Chadian National Police continued to seek U.S. government training on investigations, crisis response, and border security. The Director General of the National Police improved its performance by fostering more efficient and effective communication across bureau lines and through cooperation with the U.S. Embassy.

In cooperation with the Regional Security Office, Chad continued to screen arriving and departing travelers at international airports and other points of entry using PISCES. With the International Organization for Migration, Chad used the Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS) to identify refugees and internally displaced persons. The Chadian government continued to maintain a heightened level of security at border crossings to prevent infiltration by members of BH, ISIS-WA, and Central African militias, and to stem the transit of illegal arms and other contraband. Border patrols comprised border security officials, gendarmes, police, and soldiers.

Chad is a member of the Task Force on Money Laundering in Central Africa (GABAC), a FATF-style regional body. Chad’s FIU, the National Agency for Financial Investigation, is a member ofthe Egmont Group.

Most U.S. government Countering Violent Extremism funding for Chad is programmed through USAID’s West Africa Regional Mission in Accra, Ghana. These activities expanded access to information, strengthened engagement, and increased dialogue to combat violent extremism. U.S. government programs continued to amplify locally prominent moderate voices through support to community radio stations and training for religious leaders in human rights, tolerance, conflict prevention, and critical thinking. Additional CVE funding from the Department of State complemented these efforts to strengthen the broadcast capacity of community radio stations and improve civics education through the re-editing of a civics textbook. Four defectors from BH who surrendered to Chadian authorities reported that radio broadcasts describing lenient government policies were a contributing factor to their return. USAID Office of Transition Initiatives (OTI) projects worked to build trust between individuals, communities, and government in the Lake Chad Region. The region is strikingly under-served by all levels of governance and is the only part of Chad where BH is present.

Chad is an active member of the TSCTP and the G-5 Sahel Joint Force, which also includes Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. It maintains some 1,400 personnel in MINUSMA. As a member of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, Chad participated in efforts to develop the MNJTF. Chad also cooperated actively with Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria in operations to counter the threat of BH and ISIS-WA on its borders.

There were approximately 200 ethnic groups speaking more than 120 languages and dialects. Lack of security in the east, primarily due to armed banditry, occasionally hindered the ability of humanitarian organizations to provide services to refugees. In Lake Chad Province, attacks by Boko Haram and simultaneous government military operations constrained the ability of humanitarian organizations to aid IDPs.

The National Army of Chad, National Gendarmerie, Chadian National Police, Chadian National Nomadic Guard, and National Security Agency are responsible for internal security. A specialized gendarmerie unit, the Detachment for the Protection of Humanitarian Workers and Refugees, is responsible for security in refugee camps for both refugees and humanitarian workers. The National Army of Chad reports to the Ministry delegated to the Presidency in Charge of Armed Forces, Veterans, and War Victims. The national police, Chadian National Nomadic Guard, and Detachment for the Protection of Humanitarian Workers and Refugees report to the Ministry of Public Security and Immigration. The National Security Agency reports directly to the president. Civilian authorities at times did not maintain effective control of the security forces, and security force members committed some abuses.

Significant human rights issues included: arbitrary killings by the government or its agents; torture by security forces; arbitrary and incommunicado detention by the government; harsh and potentially life-threatening prison conditions; political prisoners; censorship of the press and restrictions on access to social network sites by the government, including arrest and detention by the government of persons for defamation; substantial interference with the rights of peaceful assembly and freedom of association; significant restrictions on freedom of movement; restrictions on political participation; pervasive acts of corruption; violence against women and girls to which government negligence significantly contributed; and criminalization of same-sex sexual conduct.

On August 19, the president declared a state of emergency following the resurgence of intercommunal conflicts in the provinces of Ouaddai, Sila, and Tibesti, the fighting claiming more than 100 lives. The Chadian Convention for the Defense of Human Rights (CTDDH) alleged in August that government actions “weighed heavily” on villagers in these areas, including the caning of residents and looting of property.

The CTDDH reported that on September 27, soldiers raided the village of Marchoud and handcuffed approximately 30 villagers, including village chief Abdassadikh Adam Nour, and covered their heads with sacks in an attempt to intimidate them into revealing suspected weapons caches. Following the August 2019 declaration of a state of emergency, there were reports of security forces beating and killing civilians and confiscating personal property in the provinces of Ouaddai, Sila, and Tibesti.

General Mahamat Abdoulkader Oumar, aka Baba Ladehe, a former Chadian rebel arrested in 2014 by UN forces in the Central African Republic (CAR) and turned over to Chadian authorities, remained at year’s end in Koro-Toro Prison after conviction in December 2018 for armed robbery, illegal possession of weapons, murder, rebellion, and criminal conspiracy, serving an eight year sentence. According to his lawyers, authorities denied him access to medical treatment and his health deteriorated while he waited for years for his trial. Authorities continued to hold Mathias Tsarsi, the director of Air Inter One, a private airline company, and three other individuals detained in 2017 on suspicion of financing terrorism, money laundering, and forgery-related acts, as well as arms trafficking.

International observers reported 134 protection incidents in the Lake Chad region that occurred in March 2019. According to international observers, 17 (12 percent) of the alleged perpetrators were from the ANT and 81 (60 percent) were from armed opposition groups. Authorities rarely prosecuted perpetrators of sexual violence. The judicial system did not provide consistent and predictable recourse or legal protection, and traditional legal systems were subject to ethnic variations. To overcome these problems, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) enlisted a local NGO to support the cases of refugees through the judicial process. The DPHR was unable to provide humanitarian escorts consistently but was generally effective in providing protection inside refugee camps.

The government cooperated with UNHCR and other humanitarian organizations in providing protection and assistance to IDPs, refugees, and other persons of concern. As of July 2019 the country hosted approximately 460,000 refugees and 3,700 asylum seekers, mainly from Sudan, the CAR, and Nigeria. Due to the absence of rebel activity and the implementation of education campaigns in camps, there were no reports of recruitment of refugees in refugee camps, including by CAR militias.

Conflict between pastoralists (herders) and farmers resulted in deaths and injuries. On 28 August 2019, the French press agency reported that 11 persons died in fighting between nomadic herders and farmers in the south of the country. In June local human rights groups reported that in May 111 persons died in conflicts between farmers and herders in the north. In October a watchdog group, the CTDDH, reported more than 300 persons died in conflicts in the east during the year 2019.

Conflict between herders and farmers resulted in dozens of deaths and injuries, particularly during November and December 2020. Authorities called for peaceful cohabitation and traveled to provinces in central areas of the country worst hit by violence to mediate and encourage dialogue. On December 24, the government created a disarmament commission to confiscate firearms, which are illegal for private citizens to possess. NGOs stated this conflict persisted due to growing human and cattle populations, competition over scarce resources, and judicial impunity for perpetrators of violence with political or economic connections to authorities.

Eastern Chad is in the grip of a cycle of violence between nomadic camel herders – many from the Zaghawa ethnic group from which Deby hails – and sedentary farmers from the Ouaddian community. While drought and population growth have aggravated the conflict, Deby has also blamed the influx of weapons from conflict zones in neighboring Libya, Central African Republic and Sudan for the upsurge in violence.

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Page last modified: 30-06-2021 11:38:40 ZULU