Recently ended conflict (Updated: August 2014)
After over 40 years of conflict, a disarmament deal between the main rebel group, the Union of Resistance Forces, and the government was signed in 2010, and the conflict has declined significantly thereafter. In 2010, Chad and Sudan agreed not to host rebel forces; relations with Sudan have improved since. In 2011, Chad held a successful election, in which President Idriss Deby was reelected. Although accurate estimates of fatalities are hard to obtain, Chad appears to have suffered fewer than 25 conflict deaths during both 2012 and 2013. Chad was removed from the ACR in 2014.
The Conflict at a Glance
Who (are the main combatants): The Chadian government and its armed forces, supported by French soldiers in 2008, fighting against the Sudanese-supported Union of Resistance Forces (URF), an alliance of eight rebel groups. The URF signed a Disarmament Agreement with the Chadian Government in 2010.
What (started the conflict): Increasing numbers of extremist Islamist insurgencies; conflicts in bordering countries Central African Republic, Mali, Sudan and South Sudan; and ethnic divides contributed to conflict in Chad. A failed coup in 2013 by political opponents and some military troops was not violent.
Where (has the conflict taken place): Most fighting between the government and the URF took place along the border with Sudan and in the capital of N’Djamena. Currently the Chadian military is playing an active role in peacekeeping missions in neighbouring Mali and the Central African Republic.
When (has the fighting occurred): Chad was amalgamated by the French following intermittent fighting between the late 1800s and 1920. Since Chad gained independence in 1960, instability has continued within the state and along its borders. Fighting between the Muslim population in the north and the Christian population in the south preceded the violent rule of the dictator Habré from 1962 until 1990, when he was overthrown by French-supported Idriss Deby. The first multiparty elections happened in 1996. Peace deals were signed by rebel groups and the government in 2003; after renewed fighting in 2007 they signed disarmament agreements in 2010. The Chadian army has been trained by U.S. and French Special Forces. Chad has contributed to peacekeeping efforts in neighbouring states. The latest national election in 2011 was peaceful, but was boycotted by opponents who accused the government of corruption.
2013 In general, Chad was politically stable. It enlarged its military footprint in the region, Chad sent 2,000 soldiers to Mali for three months in an attempt to expel jihadist rebels. It also sent 500 soldiers to participate in the UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic. After avoiding trial for decades, former dictator Hissène Habré was formally charged in Senegal with crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture. In the spring a coup attempted by civilian members of parliament and the military was suppressed by the government, resulting in four deaths. Longtime President Idriss Deby was accused of misusing funds from resource exports to fund the military instead of needed improvements to infrastructure and food security.
2012 Citing the need to counter regional insecurity, President Deby confirmed Chad’s participation in interstate security initiatives with Niger, Libya, Mali and the Central African Republic (CAR). In what was labeled an “interposition” mission, Chadian troops deployed to the CAR as part of multinational efforts to counter a broad coalition of rebels threatening the capital. With Senegal and the African Union moving to establish a Special Tribunal, significant progress was made in efforts to try former Chadian President Hissène Habré for war crimes. Leader of the Chadian Popular Front for Recovery (FPR), Abdel Kader Baba Laddé, surrendered to the Chadian government in the company of UN observers, facilitating the demobilization of the FPR and the reintegration of its members into Chadian society. Local elections were marred by allegations of fraud. Deby reportedly survived a coup attempt.
2011 Incumbent President Idriss Deby was reelected for a fourth term in a controversial election in April. Stronger relations between Chad and Sudan in 2010 led to a dramatic improvement in security in eastern Chad in 2011. The deployment of a joint Chadian-Sudanese border monitoring force largely prevented cross-border incursions by rebel groups from either side.
2010 In February, President Idriss Deby announced an end to the seven-year proxy war with Sudan and reopened the border. Sudan and Chad agreed not to host rebel forces, to establish joint development projects and a joint border force, and to facilitate the return of rebels to their homelands. Overall, the level of violence appeared to decrease in 2010. During April 24-28, fighting between government forces and rebels from the Popular Front for National Rebirth (FPRN) in eastern Chad killed 100 rebels and nine government soldiers. This was the first major clash since the governments of Chad and Sudan agreed to stop sponsoring the other’s rebel factions. The attacks took place after the departure of the United Nations Mission in Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), which had been reduced from its full strength of 5,000 troops to 1,900. Legislative, local, presidential and parliamentary elections were postponed to 2011. Delays were attributed to a lack of preparation and consensus among political parties, concerns with voter registration and allegations of manipulation.
2009 A two-day clash in eastern Chad, which erupted shortly after a reconciliation agreement was reached between the Sudanese and Chadian governments in May, left an estimated 250 dead. The Sudanese and Chadian governments accused each other of arming and supporting foreign rebels. The United Nations Mission in Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT) replaced the European mission (EUFOR) in May; in November, 3,032 of the full capacity of 5,525 military personnel were in place. In December, many nongovernmental organizations, including Médecins sans Frontières scaled back due to the increasing insecurity. The conflict had created an estimated 270,000 Sudanese refugees, 81,000 refugees from CAR and 187,000 internally displaced people.
2008 In February, rebel forces attempted a coup d’état in the capital N’Djamena. Although unsuccessful, the coup killed several hundred people, displaced tens of thousands and prompted the Chadian government to declare a state of emergency. A joint international mission was deployed in Chad, including an EU military component (EUFOR) and a UN humanitarian component, the United Nations Mission in Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT). The relative ineffectiveness of these missions and continued violence in the Sudan-Darfur-Chad border regions hampered security. Citing Chad’s continued failure to use oil revenues for poverty reduction, the World Bank ended its involvement in the country, recalling loans from the Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline project.
2007 The governments of Chad, Sudan and the Central African Republic signed an agreement not to host rebel forces from the other signatories; however, cross-border attacks continued, killing and displacing Chadian citizens and Sudanese refugees living in Chad. Despite a ceasefire agreement between the government and four main armed opposition groups, no lasting peace was reached and armed resistance to President Idriss Deby’s leadership intensified. Ethnic violence continued, leading UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to propose two possible military operations for Chad, in combination with the European Union peacekeeping mission that was set to deploy in early 2008. There was concern that investment agreements reached between the governments of Chad and China would allow Deby’s government to purchase additional weapons.
2006 A new rebel coalition of eight factions, the United Front for Democratic Change (FUCD), conducted numerous skirmishes with government troops, including a failed siege of the capital, N’Djamena in April. Reported casualties included several hundred combatants and civilians. Tensions between the governments of Chad and Sudan remained high. Chad temporarily suspended relations with Sudan after accusing Khartoum of financing the FUCD. Ethnic violence erupted along the southeast border with Sudan, fuelling concerns that the conflict in Darfur had spread into Chad. President Idriss Deby was re-elected in May in a disputed election. The World Bank froze revenue accounts after the government used money earmarked for development to purchase arms.
2005 There was no fighting reported between the Chadian government and one of the two remaining factions of the Movement for Democracy and Justice in Chad (MDJT) after the two sides signed a peace agreement. The government clashed with the newly formed Platform for Change, Unity and Democracy (SCUD), a rebel group made up of army deserters demanding the resignation of President Idriss Deby. The President increased his power after the government’s victory in a widely disputed national referendum that granted him the right to run for a third term.
2004 Government troops were deployed to fight MDJT rebels and deal with potential spillover from the Darfur conflict near Chad’s eastern border with Sudan. There were no reported deaths and the government and MDJT rebels continued negotiations to end the northern rebellion. Ethnic violence and a March battle between Chadian forces and suspected Islamic extremists left at least 80 dead. U.S. Special Forces began to train government troops as part of the U.S. war on terror. Government troops and former soldiers who had deserted the Chadian army clashed during the year.
2003 The intensity of the conflict between the government and rebel forces diminished for a third consecutive year. Only one rebel group, the Movement for Democracy and Justice in Chad (MDJT), remained militarily active. The civil war that began in October 2002 in neighbouring Central African Republic (CAR) caused an influx of refugees into Chad, with increased violence in the border areas. But by March, the victorious rebels assumed control of the CAR and relations between the two states stabilized.
2002 The conflict continued to decline after a peace agreement in January and a government offer of rebel amnesty in February. The main rebel group MDJT initially rejected both. In September, the leader of the hardliners in the group was reportedly killed, raising hopes that MDJT would now accept the offers. Tensions continued to mount between Chad and CAR as CAR fought a domestic rebel group allegedly backed by Chad.
2001 Fighting between government and rebel forces was greatly reduced in 2001, with only minor clashes reported and few deaths. By January 2002, the Chadian government had signed a comprehensive peace agreement with the rebel Movement for Democracy and Justice in Chad (MDJT).
2000 Clashes between government forces and rebels in the north intensified. Several hundred people were reportedly killed, an increase in the number of conflict deaths estimated for the previous year.
1999 Fighting between government forces and rebel group MDJT continued in the northern region of Tibesti. There were also reports of rebel attacks against government forces stationed in the south despite a 1998 peace accord. At least 65 people—and possibly hundreds more—died in the fighting.
1998 Intense fighting in southern Chad between government forces and the rebel Armed Forces for a Federal Republic (FARF) continued until a May peace accord. Other lower intensity rebellions continued in the northeast.
1. Government of Chad: The government is led by President Idriss Deby; military and paramilitary services are responsible for internal security.
2. U.S. Special Forces: In 2004 they trained Chadian soldiers in counterterrorism as part of the Trans-Saharan Counter-Terrorism Initiative and continue to train with the Chadian military through their Africa Command Centre.
3. France: Maintains a battalion of 950 troops in its former colony and supports the government through training, administration and intelligence.
4. Union des Forces de Résistance/Union of Resistance Forces (UFR): Founded in January 2009, the UFR is a large coalition of eight Chadian armed opposition groups, led by Timan Erdimi (chief of RFC) and a close relative of President Deby. UFR is comprised of the following groups:
a. Rassemblement des Forces pour le Changement/Rally of the Forces for Change (RFC): Timan Erdimi’s group, founded in December 2005, is itself a coalition of several Bideyat deserter groups and defectors from Chad’s Republican Guard. The RFC is associated with the Concorde Nationale Tchadieme (CNT).
b. Union des Forces pour la Démocratie et le Développement/Union of Forces for Democracy and Development (UFDD): An Arab-dominated rebel group originally led by Mahamat Nouri, a former member of Deby’s cabinet. Nouri left the UFDD to form the National Alliance for Democratic Change (ANCD) in 2010. The UFDD is comprised 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 1,000 active members and has been accused of conducting joint operations with the Sudanese Janjaweed on refugee camps in eastern Chad.
c. UFDD-Fondamentale (UFDD-F): A former splinter group of the UFDD led by Abdelwahid Aboud, founded in May 2007.
d. Union des Forces pour le Changement et la Démocratie/Union of Forces for Change and Democracy (UFCD): This faction was founded in March 2008 by Adouma Hassaballah Djadareb, ex-vice president of the UFDD. In October 2010 this faction largely disarmed; before this date it numbered approximately 1,500 combatants, most Ouaddaïan, and was the main component of the UFR (and the entire Chadian opposition).
e. Conseil Démocratique Révolutionnaire/Revolutionary Democratic Council (CDR): One of the oldest Chadian opposition groups and the traditional movement of Chadian Arabs, the CDR was founded in 1978.
f. Front pour le Salut de la République/Front for the Salvation of the Republic (FSR): Founded in 2007 and led by Ahmat Hassaballah Soubiane, the FSR recruits mainly from Arab communities along the Chad-Sudan border, especially among Khartoum-supported militias (Janjaweed).
g. Front Populaire pour la Renaissance Nationale/Popular Front for National Rebirth (FPRN)
h. Union Démocratique pour le Changement/Democratic Union for Change (UDC): The UDC is primarily a political group, led by Abderahman Koulamallah.
i. Front Populaire pour le Redressement/Popular Front for Recovery (FPR): The FPR arrived in the Central African Republic in 2008, following an earlier campaign against the Chadian government. The FPR recruited ethnic Fulani and operated in loose association with a regional patchwork of shifting rebel elements. They were known to carry out sporadic attacks in the north of CAR. A joint military operation by Chad and CAR largely dislodged the group. In the presence of UN observers, the group’s leader, Abdel Kader Baba Laddé, surrendered to the Chadian government in 2012. The FPR demobilized and former fighters were reintegrated into Chadian society.
5. Alliance Nationale pour le Changement Democratiqie/National Alliance for Democratic Change (ANCD): A rebel coalition founded in May 2010 after Mahamat Nouri formalized his split from the UFR. The rebel group is composed of the CDR, FSR, UFR and UFDD. It is thought to have close ties with the Sudanese government. Many of the rebels returning to N’Djamena since July 2010 have been defectors from the ANCD.
6. Rally of Democratic Forces (FaFD): The FaFD is a Zaghawa dissident group that represents Deby’s ethnic group. It is thought to be a separate and growing rebel force in southern Chad that aims to gain support for early elections to replace Deby.
7. The United Front for Democratic Change (FUC/FUCD): 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 Deby’s resignation and is believed to be aligned with and funded by Sudan.
8. The Rally for Democracy and Change (RLD): Led by Timane Erdimi, 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 Deby. It is loosely allied with SCUD.
9. Movement Nationale (MN): Led by Mahamat Ahmat Hamid, it includes the Union of Forces for Democracy and Development – Renewal (UFDD –R), the National Movement for Recovery (NMR) and the Front for the Salvation of the Republic. In July 2009, the group signed a peace deal with N’Djamena under the sponsorship of Libya to put an “end to hostilities, the return of the opposition leaders to the path of democracy, the integration of its young fighters into the army or civil service and the participation of the MN in public life.”
10. L’Mouvement National du Salut du Peuple (MONASAP): is comprised of eight rebel groups, which formed a coalition on June 5, 2010. One faction is the important Union des Forces pour le Changement et la Democratic/Renovee (UFCD-R).
11. The Government of Sudan (Khartoum): Although President al-Bashir has consistently denied any involvement in backing rebels, Deby, accusing Khartoum of funding and supporting numerous rebel movements in Chad, severed diplomatic relations with Khartoum periodically in 2006. A number of human rights groups report that Chadian rebels, who have their bases in Darfur, are both funded and supported by the Sudanese government. There have also been reports of the alignment of Chadian rebels with the Sudanese Janjaweed militia. In early 2010, Deby and al-Bashir signed an agreement to normalize relations that included provisions to increase border security, the establishment of a joint border patrol, the return of rebels and joint development projects. Increased cooperation with Khartoum has led to the disarmament of some 2,000 Chadian combatants in North Darfur. Chadian rebel strength thus decreased from 6,000 combatants in May 2009 to between 3,000 and 4,000 by October 2010.
12. United Nations Mission in Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT): The mission assumed responsibility from the Joint United Nations-European Union Force (EUFOR) on March 15, 2009. The police and civilian mission was expanded to include a large military component with the adoption of UN Resolution 1861 on January 14, 2009. The authorized strength of MINURCAT was 300 police officers, 25 military liaison officers, 5,200 military personnel and an appropriate number of civilian personnel.
The Chadian government did not renew the MINURCAT mandate when it expired on March 15, 2010, citing incomplete deployment and alleged ineffectiveness. On May 25, 2010 the Security Council, through Resolution 1923, revised the mandate of the mission to begin gradual withdrawal of its military component. The new mandate allowed the civilian component of the mission to work with the government to consolidate gains. The complete withdrawal of all uniformed and civilian MINURCAT components, other than those required for the mission’s liquidation, occurred on December 31, 2010.
13. International Support Mission in CAR (MISCA): In December 2013 authority was transferred from the Economic Community of Central African States’ MICOPAX (Mission de consolidation de la paix en Centrafrique) to the African-led MISCA (founded in July). MISCA’s mandate is to continue peace efforts in the region, using international forces from the AU and UN member nations.
2013 Chad increased its military involvement in Mali and CAR, sending 2,000 soldiers to Mali and 500 to CAR. Chadian soldiers suffered the most casualties in Mali, assuming the most dangerous roles. Chadian soldiers in CAR continued to provide security for Chadian refugees; these troops were accused of a pro-Seleka bias, which was denied by the Chadian government. According to the Global Observatory, Chad increased its military spending and continued to play an active role in the region.
2012 In early 2012, Chadian troops served in the Central African Republic as part of a joint military offensive aimed at ousting the FPR from its regional stronghold. Although Chadian troops were unsuccessful in initial efforts to capture FPR leader Abdel Kader Baba Laddé, the FPR was largely dislodged from the region. An estimated 16,000 persons were displaced in corresponding military operations. In the presence of the UN, Baba Laddé later surrendered to the Chadian government, facilitating the demobilization and reintegration of approximately 150 FPR fighters. In the final weeks of the year Chad once again deployed troops to CAR, after a broad rebel coalition advanced on the capital region. In what was initially described as an “interposition” mission, Chadian troops sought to reinforce the fledgling CAR military.
2011 The deployment of a joint Chadian-Sudanese border monitoring force minimized cross-border incursions by rebel groups from either side. Despite overall improvement in security in eastern Chad, localized banditry remained a problem, according to the UNHCR. In 2011, the UN-supported Chadian security force, Détachement Intégré de Sécurité (DIS), was instrumental in ensuring security in and around refugee camps and protecting convoys of returning IDPs following the withdrawal of MINURCAT in 2010. In August, authorities announced the arrests of eight Chadian fighters following an investigation into local groups recruiting mercenaries for the conflict in Libya. In September, according to a military official, elements of Darfur rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), previously stationed in Libya, crossed into Chad with about 100 cars and weapons supplied by Libya. Chad and Sudan continued to coordinate military operations against JEM forces returning to Darfur.
2010 Fighting on April 24-28 between government forces and FPRN rebel forces left 100 rebels and nine government soldiers dead after rebels launched an attack in the town of Djahanme, located on the border between Chad and Sudan. This was the first major attack since the governments of Chad and Sudan had agreed to stop sponsoring one another’s rebel factions in February. The attacks took place after the number of UN peacekeepers in Chad was reduced from 5,000 to 1,900. The Sudanese government began to facilitate the disarmament and return of Chadian rebels and set up a joint border control to increase security. Overall, the level of violence appeared to have decreased. According to Amnesty International, the number of internally displaced people in Chad reached 170,531. Chad signed the N’Djamena Declaration on child soldiers, adopted on June 11, and pledged to stop the use of children in armed conflict. Since 2007, in cooperation with UNICEF, Chad had demobilized more than 800 children from rebel groups. However, Chad admitted to the presence of child soldiers in its army.
2009 In May, a two-day clash between government troops and rebel forces in the east of Chad left approximately 250 dead. The fight occurred two days after the signing of the Doha agreement between the Chadian and Sudanese governments. A French staff member of the International Committee of the Red Cross was kidnapped and a UN convoy was attacked in November, leading many NGOs to reduce their presence in Chad. Approximately 212 alleged rebels, 85 of them minors, were detained by the Chadian government after the May attacks. Children continued to be recruited although the government and opposition groups had signed agreements not to use child soldiers. While the Chadian government denied the recruitment and use of children in their military forces; 13 per cent of children released in 2007 and 2008 were from Chad’s national army. The 2009 report by the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict stated that “cases of sexual and gender-based violence show an increasing trend of abuse towards refugee and internally displaced females, in particular girls under the age of 10.”
2008 On February 2-3, an estimated 3,000 rebels attempted an unsuccessful coup in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena. At least 400 people were reported killed and more than 1,000 wounded; between 20,000 and 30,000 civilians fled to Cameroon. Skirmishes in April between rebel groups and the Chadian army killed seven civilians and wounded 47. Rebel group National Alliance launched new offensives in June, seizing several towns in eastern Chad, but not advancing to the capital. These attacks were believed to have killed 160 people. The government of Chad continued to accuse Khartoum of supporting this rebel activity. In August 2008, a UN working group confirmed the continued use of child soldiers by all parties involved in conflict in Chad, including rebel groups situated in Darfur. More than 400,000 refugees and internally displaced people were living in camps in eastern Chad, bordering Darfur. These camps were sites of gender-based violence and child trafficking. Despite the presence of EU peacekeepers (EUFOR), attacks on humanitarian workers led to periodic suspensions of aid. The U.S. State Department reported that the government’s human rights record deteriorated in 2008, while rebel groups, ethnic-based militias and bandits continued to be responsible for various human-rights abuses.
2007 Chadians were forced from their homes, allegedly by Janjaweed militia from Sudan as well as communal conflict. Despite the commencement of peace talks, rebel positions near Sudan’s border were bombed. There was speculation that rebels were aiming to seize the capital, N’Djamena. In Goz Beida, government troops clashed with fighters of the United Front for Democratic Change, an armed opposition group that had agreed to disarm. Five hundred UFDC rebels, who were waiting to be integrated into the national army, abandoned their posts and were accused by the Chadian army of refusing to integrate. Former FUCD leader Mahamat Nour, who signed a peace agreement and agreed to join the government as Defence Minister, accused the Zaghawas of initiating the violence. Following a flare-up of ethnic violence that killed at least 20 people, the government imposed a 12-day state of emergency along its eastern border with Sudan’s Darfur region.
2006 Fears rose that the ethnic conflict from Darfur would spill over the Chadian border. Rebel group United Front for Democratic Change (FUCD) carried out numerous attacks on government troops, including a failed attempt at seizing the capital N’Djamena in April. The government of President Idriss Deby continued to accuse Sudan of backing rebel movements. Refugee camps as well as aid caches were seized, limiting the ability of aid workers to access the hundreds of thousands displaced along the Chad-Sudan border. Rebel forces forcefully recruited fighters from the camps, including children under 12. Toward the end of 2006, there were reported clashes between Arab groups and ethnic Africans, raising fears that the crisis in Darfur had engulfed the Chadian border region.
2005 Toward the end of the year, government troops clashed with the newly formed rebel groups SCUD in the capital Ndjamena, and with the RLD in eastern Chad near the Sudan-Chad border. President Idriss Deby accused Sudan’s government of aiding the rebels and declared “a state of belligerence” against Sudan.
2004 Although government troops were deployed to the north to fight MDJT rebels and to the east to deal with border tensions caused by the Darfur conflict in Sudan, there were no reported deaths. A March report of a two-day battle between Chadian forces and suspected members of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat on the Niger border claimed 43 lives. There were reports of clashes between herders and sedentary populations and other ethnic violence.
2003 In September, the Movement for Democracy and Justice in Chad (MDJT) launched an attack on government installations in northern Chad. Early in the year, relations between Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR) deteriorated when the government of CAR was overthrown by domestic rebels, allegedly supported by Chadian authorities. The rebellion led to an influx of CAR refugees into Chad, raising tensions in the border areas. After the rebellion, relations between the two states stabilized. In the latter part of the year, armed conflict in western Sudan spilled into Chad.
2002 Government forces clashed with rebels in the north in May. In general, however, the intensity of fighting continued to decrease following the signing of a peace agreement in January. Meanwhile, tensions between Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR) intensified, with civilians and combatants targeted by Chadian and CAR forces along the border.
2001 Fighting between government and rebel forces was greatly reduced in 2001 with only minor clashes reported. However, in November tensions increased between Chad and the Central African Republic after General François Bozize, a former CAR army chief-of-staff, fled to southern Chad.
2000 Clashes between government forces and the rebel Movement for Democracy and Justice in Chad (MJDT) continued in the Tibesti region. The rebels reportedly made significant gains, capturing the key garrison town of Bardai. The fighting intensified at the end of the year as government forces launched a massive operation to dislodge the rebels from their stronghold in the north.
1999 Fighting between government forces and the Movement for Democracy and Justice in Chad (MJDT) continued in the northern region of Tibesti. In July, the National Front for a Renewed Chad (FNTR) claimed to have ambushed government forces stationed in the area between Goz Beida and Koukou Angarana.
1998 After more than four months of intense fighting between government forces and the Armed Forces for a Federal Republic (FARF), a peace deal was signed in May, which held through the rest of the year. While the government was involved in other conflicts, the May peace deal dramatically curbed total violence.
Total: More than 51,000 people have been killed since the conflict began in 1965. Approximately 7,000 of these deaths occurred after 1990. More than 130,000 have been displaced as a result of armed conflict.
2013 Chadian military involvement in Mali and in the UN peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic resulted in at least 36 deaths in Mali and several in CAR. A coup attempt in the capital N’Djamena resulted in at least four deaths, while related clashes in a residential neighborhood killed at least 12.
Refugees: The refugee situation worsened in Chad throughout 2013 and further deterioration was anticipated because of ongoing conflicts in neighbouring Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR). Currently there are approximately 350,000 refugees from Sudan and 74,131 from CAR, as well as 90,000 internally displaced persons, most migrant workers from Libya. Other countries shelter 9,329 Chadian refugees.
2012 No reliable estimates of fatalities were available. Although rebel activity in Chad largely subsided, remnants of conflict remained. The UN Refugee Agency estimated that Chad was home to approximately 90,000 internally displaced persons. Chad also hosted some 288,000 Sudanese refugees and approximately 56,000 refugees from the Central African Republic. The influx of refugees complicated regional efforts to address food insecurity.
2011 The UNHCR estimated that Chad was hosting 130,000 internally displaced persons, 264,000 Sudanese refugees and 64,000 refugees from the Central African Republic. In October, more than 1,220 Sub-Saharan Africans evacuated from Libya arrived in the Chadian town of Zouarke.
2010 An estimated 100 rebels and nine soldiers were killed during rebel fighting in eastern Chad between April 24 and 28.
2009 An estimated 250 deaths resulted from May clashes in eastern Chad. According to government reports, 228 of these deaths were rebels. According to UNICEF, a significant number of discarded munitions and unexploded ordnances (UXO) were expected to add to the civilian death toll. In May, two young boys were killed by a UXO in eastern Chad; Chad is one of the top five countries in the world for landmine casualties.
2008 Clashes between the Chadian army and various rebel groups killed approximately 570 people. An estimated 400 people were killed in a February coup attempt. A clash between the army and religious radicals in July killed an additional 74. More than 1,000 people were wounded.
2007 Estimates put the death toll at more than 1,000. The number of civilian deaths as a percentage of total deaths was lower than in the past. Among the dead were refugees from Sudan and a UN aid worker.
2006 Civilian casualties remained high, with at least 300 dead. The joint head of Chad’s armed forces, General Moussa Sougui, was killed in October in fighting along the Sudanese border.
2005 At least 100 people were killed in fighting late in the year between government forces and newly formed rebel groups, SCUD and RLD.
2004 There were no reported deaths from fighting between MJDT rebels and government troops. More than 80 deaths were reported in other armed violence—43 in a March battle with suspected foreign terrorists on the Niger border and more than 40 in ethnic conflict.
2003 Approximately 100 people were killed. More deaths were due to communal clashes over resources than fighting between rebel and government forces.
2002 The number of conflict deaths likely exceeded 50 as civilians continued to be targeted by both rebel and government forces. Civilians were killed along the Chad-CAR border.
2001 Reduced fighting between government and rebel troops resulted in a decline in deaths.
2000 The death toll was in the hundreds, with reports of at least 413 government soldiers and more than 120 rebels killed. Among the dead were General Kerim Nassour, responsible for the personal safety of President Idriss Deby, and Colonel Fadoul Allamine.
1999 At least 65 people were killed, and possibly hundreds more.
1998 At least 110 people, mostly civilian, died.
2013 As a part of its move to influence neighbouring countries, Chad assumed a leading role in regional economic groups and sought a more active leadership role in regional UN missions, such as MISCA. Chad also gained a seat on the UN Security Council for a two-year term beginning January 2014. Former dictator Hissene Habre was charged in Senegal in the spring for crimes against humanity. According to Human Rights Watch, the government detained those involved in a failed coup for longer than the legally allowed 48 hours.
2012 Citing the need to counter regional insecurity, President Deby confirmed Chadian participation in a number of interstate security initiatives. Chad called for a regional military force and worked with Nigeria to put pressure on Boko Haram operations in the Sahel. The Chadian government also announced its intention to contribute troops to a proposed African Union Mali Standby Military Force. Deby pledged continued support for his embattled neighbour President Bozizé of the Central African Republic. In what was labeled an “interposition” mission, Chadian troops deployed to the CAR to counter a broad coalition of rebels threatening the capital. This aroused fears of reawakening Chad’s largely dormant rebel movement. Significant progress was made in longstanding efforts to try former Chadian President Hissene Habre for war crimes. The National Assembly of Senegal and the AU adopted legislation aimed at the establishment of a Special Tribunal. Abdel Kader Baba Laddé, leader of the Popular Front for Recovery (FPR), surrendered to the Chadian government and former rebel fighters were demobilized. Government-sponsored media intimidation, censorship and targeting of independent journalists continued, while widespread trade union strikes raised national tensions. Opposition parties successfully fielded candidates in local elections, but allegations of fraud persisted. After several presidential guards were arrested, reports emerged that the President had escaped a coup attempt. The government denied this, citing “mere disciplinary measures.”
2011 In January, President Deby proclaimed an amnesty for six former leaders of the Union of Forces for Democracy and Development involved in a February 2008 rebel offensive. In February, Deby’s party won an absolute majority of national assembly seats in the general election. President Deby was elected to his fourth term in April after presidential candidates from the major opposition parties boycotted the election. Turnout for the presidential poll was less than 51 per cent according to international election observers. In June, the government signed a peace accord with General Abdel Kader Baba Laddé, leader of rebel group FPR, based since 2008 in CAR. Stronger relations between Chad and Sudan led to a dramatic improvement in security in eastern Chad.
2010 Rebels in Chad and Sudan launched attacks on each another’s countries, often with government support. After meetings between the two countries, Chadian President Deby announced in February a protocol to end hostilities and renew cooperation. Each country agreed not to host rebel forces from the other country and to establish a joint border force of 3,000 troops. The joint border force was peacefully handed over to Chad’s control in September after six months of Sudanese control. The protocol allowed for joint development projects to rebuild borders areas and facilitated the return of rebels, who were encouraged to join the electoral and political process.
On January 8, it was announced that legislative, local and presidential elections would be held in late 2010 and early 2011. Electoral preparations were scrutinized by the leading opposition Co-ordination of Political Parties for the Defense of the Constitution (CPDC) and were delayed numerous times. On September 25, the National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) postponed elections until 2011. CENI attributed delays to a lack of preparation and consensus among political parties, concerns with voter registration and allegations of manipulation. At the end of the year, the election monitoring committee fired the head of the election commission, Ngarmajiel Gami, amid fraud allegations. Parliamentary elections were subsequently postponed by one week.
2009 Sudan and Chad signed the Doha accord in Qatar in May, agreeing to refrain from interference with the other’s conflicts. A few days later conflict erupted again in the east and Chad again accused Sudan of backing rebels. In July, a coalition of three smaller rebel groups known as the National Movement (MN) signed a peace agreement with the Chadian government; none of these forces had been involved in the skirmish in May. According to the Sudan Tribune, this peace agreement involves “an end to hostilities, the return of the opposition leaders to the path of democracy, the integration of its young fighters into the army or civil service and the participation of the MN in public life.”
2008 The joint UN-EU peacekeeping mission approved for Chad by the UN Security Council in September 2007 were deployed in early 2008. The EU military component (EUFOR) became officially functional in February. The humanitarian component, the United Nations Mission in Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT), faced extensive delays and had a minimal impact. The UN Security Council planned to increase the number of current personnel from 3,000 to 4,900, and replace EU soldiers with UN peacekeepers. On February 14, following a failed coup, the government declared a two-week state of emergency that included tight media control, forced evictions of thousands and a crackdown on political opposition. Three prominent opposition politicians were detained and Ibni Oumar Mahamat Saleh remained “disappeared.” Under pressure from France, the government undertook a Commission of Inquiry; in September, its report implicated the Presidential Guard in Saleh’s disappearance and found national security forces responsible for unlawful killings, torture, rape and arbitrary arrest. Government helicopters were also found to be responsible for indiscriminate bombings of civilians. The coup attempt in Chad and a similar coup attempt in Khartoum in May exacerbated tensions between Chad and Sudan. Each government continued to accuse the other of supporting proxy rebel groups. Under intense regional-political pressure, another such agreement, known as the Dakar Agreement, was reached in March 2008 and broken by May. Diplomatic relations resumed in October.
2007 Early in the year, the governments of Chad, Sudan and the Central African Republic signed an agreement not to support rebels of the other countries; attacks, primarily across the Sudan-Chad border, continued. In August, President Idriss Deby and opposition parties agreed to form an independent electoral commission to hold delayed parliamentary elections by 2009. European Union peacekeepers were due to deploy in early 2008. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon proposed two possible military operations for Chad aimed at protecting 12 refugee camps and key towns where Chadian citizens have fled. Despite the commencement of peace talks in January after the visit of UN High Commissioner for Refugees in December 2006, no lasting agreements were reached and violence in several regions reached new heights. On October 26, the Chadian government and four of the main rebel groups (UFDD, RFC, DNT and UFDD-F) signed a peace accord in Libya that called for an “immediate” ceasefire and the integration of rebel fighters into the national army. The UFDD and RFC announced in November that they would break the ceasefire.
2006 President Deby was reelected in May in an election that was boycotted by opposition groups. Deby survived a coup attempt in April when government forces, reportedly aided by French intelligence, repelled a rebel attack on the capital of N’Djamena. Relations with Sudan remained strained as Deby continued to allege that Sudan was backing rebels in Chad. Following increasing hostilities, Deby severed diplomatic relations and closed the border. Violence between Arabs and ethnic Africans in the southeast prompted the government to declare a state of emergency late in the year.
2005 The government won a disputed national referendum on several constitutional amendments, which included the deletion of a clause limiting the president to two consecutive terms and the replacement of the senate with the Economic, Social and Cultural Council, with members nominated by the president. The referendum was boycotted by the opposition. In August, a peace accord was reached between the Chadian government and the “moderate” faction of the MDJT, led by Hassan Abdallah Mardigue. New rebel groups, the Platform for Change, National Unity and Democracy (SCUD) and the Rally for Democracy and Liberty (RDL), demanded Deby’s resignation.
2004 In May, members of the government security forces led a failed coup attempt against President Idriss Deby. The government and remaining MDJT rebels continued negotiations to end the rebellion in the Tibesti region. U.S. Special Forces were deployed to Chad to train government troops as part of the U.S. “Trans-Sahara Counter Terrorism Initiative.”
2003 A January peace agreement between the Chadian government and the National Resistance Army rebel group held. Although relations between Chad and the Central African Republic were strained during a coup in CAR, relations normalized following the victory of the rebels in March. The governments of Chad and Sudan collaborated on various initiatives to resolve conflict along the Chad-Sudan border.
2002 In January, a breakthrough was reached between the government and the rebel Movement for Democracy and Justice in Chad with the signing of a peace agreement. Extremists in the MDJT rejected the agreement. In September, independent media reports said that the leader of the extremists was seriously injured by a landmine and subsequently died. Relations between Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR) became increasingly hostile over border issues and Chad’s willingness to provide sanctuary to former CAR army chief General Francois Bozize. In October, Bozize launched an attack into CAR from Chad. A number of key African leaders called for a regional response to prevent further aggression between the two countries.
2001 In May, President Idriss Deby was reelected with 67 per cent of the vote. According to media reports, the election was neither free nor fair, with many irregularities reported.
2000 In April, a meeting sponsored by Libyan President Moammar Ghadafi between President Idriss Deby and former head of state Goukouni Weddeye ended without progress. Gabonese President Omar Bongo allowed the Co-ordination des Mouvements Armés et Partis Politiques de l’Opposition (CMAP), an umbrella organization of the Chadian opposition, to operate out of Libreville. At year’s end, the Chadian government declared that a portion of a $24-million (U.S.) advance from international oil companies had been used to fight the rebels. The World Bank, which was helping to finance an oil pipeline, expressed concern over the government’s military spending.
1999 The government and armed opposition group Movement for Democracy and Development (MDD) signed a reconciliation accord in Khartoum in July. In December in Paris, 13 armed political movements announced the formation of a new alliance against the government: CMAP (Coordination des Mouvements Armes et Politiques de l’Opposition).
1998 After Laokein Barde Frisson, leader of Armed Forces for a Federal Republic (FARF), was presumed dead, FARF entered into peace negotiations in May which led to a settlement that held for the rest of the year. Members of FARF were granted amnesty for atrocities committed during the insurgency between October 1997 and May 1998.
Chad has been embroiled in internal intermittent armed conflict since its independence from France in 1965.
In the 1990s, the main fighting was between the government of President Idriss Deby and southern factions, the most important of which has been the Movement for Democracy and Development linked to deposed president Hissene Habre.
The country moved slowly toward representative government, establishing an interim legislative body, the Higher Council of Transition (CST), in 1993. A constitution was adopted in a March 1996 referendum; the same year Idriss Deby was elected to a five-year presidential term. Although the election was marred by reports of fraud, vote-rigging and irregularities, no major incidents of violence were reported. During 1997, elections to replace the CST with a National Legislative Assembly were held, followed by confirmation of a presidentially nominated Prime Minister by the new Assembly. An April 1997 peace agreement between the government and FARF to integrate FARF forces into the state army broke down, resulting in renewed fighting in October.
In December 1999, 13 armed political movements formed a new alliance against the government, the CMAP (Coordination des Mouvements Armes et Politiques de l’Opposition). By 2000, most fighting between government and rebel forces had shifted to the north of the country. In January 2002, the government and more moderate elements of the MDJT signed a peace agreement and the government issued a general amnesty to rebel fighters, offering many former combatants positions in the government and the military. A faction of the MDJT, the only military active rebel group by 2003, rejected the peace agreement and continued fighting in the north. By 2004, the northern rebellion had lost much of its strength and peace negotiations between the government and the remaining rebels resulted in a peace accord in 2005.
Army deserters and ethnic groups opposed to Deby formed two new rebel groups, the Platform for Change, National Unity and Democracy (SCUD) and the Rally for Democracy and Change (RLD), and fighting continued in the east. In 2006, eight rebel factions united to form the United Front for Democratic Change (FUCD). The new faction is allegedly funded and supported by Sudan, with bases in Darfur. Conflict in Chad has been directly affected by conflict in Darfur since 2003; Janjaweed militias, backed by Sudanese government forces, have been linked with armed groups in eastern Chad. An attempted siege on the capital, N’Djamena, in April 2006 strained relations between Deby and Khartoum; diplomatic relations were severed and the border was closed. Despite a formal agreement to resume contact with Sudan, Chad declared a state of emergency in many southern regions as ethnic conflict erupted.
In 2008, coup attempts strained relations between the governments of Chad and Sudan. It was announced that former president Habre would face trial in Senegal for crimes against humanity allegedly committed under his presidency. Habre was also sentenced to death in Chad, in absentia, for his alleged involvement in the February 2008 coup attempt.
In 2010, President Deby announced presidential elections for May 2011 and normalizing of relations between Sudan and Chad. Although boycotted by opposition members, an election was peacefully held in 2011, with Deby reelected for a fourth term.
In January 2006, the World Bank froze Chadian accounts when President Idriss Deby reportedly spent an estimated $50-million (U.S.) on weapons.
The government has received weapons from Ukraine, Russia, the United States, France and the Netherlands. Reports in 2000 indicated that Chad spent $4-million (U.S.) of World Bank oil pipeline project funds to purchase arms. According to a report, arms from Sudan have made their way to Chad. Many small arms were brought into Chad during the Cold War, when France and Libya backed opposing Chadian forces. According to SIPRI Chad’s military expenditure in 2011 was estimated to be $242-million.
Oil revenues in Chad determine the level and dynamics of military expenditure and are a source of conflict.
In 2007, the Chadian and Chinese governments agreed on plans to allow Chinese firms to build a petroleum refinery and a cement factory in Chad, raising concerns that China’s unconditional investment would fuel the current conflict by providing the government with revenue for weapons. Citing Chad’s continued failure to use oil revenues for poverty reduction, the World Bank recalled its outstanding loans for Chad’s oil pipeline to the Cameroon in 2008; this project had generated an estimated $2.5-billion (U.S.) in government revenue. In 2009, China National Petroleum Corporation began construction on a new pipeline from Koudalwa oilfield to a location north of N’Djamena; the capital’s refinery opened in 2011. Problems between Chad and China developed in 2012 and continued in 2013, with production stoppages and oil spills.
Chad is near the bottom of the UN Human Development Index. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimated that severe flooding had affected approximately 700,000 persons in 2012, displacing 20,000, as well as damaging or destroying more than 255,000 hectares of productive agricultural land. The UN World Food Program expressed concerns over food insecurity across a number of regions. The UN Refugee Agency estimates that Chad is now home to approximately 90,000 internally displaced persons. This “cycle of recurrent crises” was compounded by the arrival of thousands of refugees from Cameroon, Nigeria and Libya. Chad also hosts 56,000 refugees from the Central African Republic and approximately 288,000 refugees from Sudan. The influx of refugees has complicated regional efforts to address food insecurity.
In 2013, the Global Observatory noted that more of Chad’s oil revenue is being used to fund security and defence rather than social programs. The World Bank ranked Chad at 163 of 169 countries on the Human Development Index. Its GDP growth rate remains at 8.9 per cent, slightly more than double the average seen in sub-Saharan Africa. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization, nearly 70 per cent of Chadians directly rely on crops as a food source, and increasing severe climatic events such as droughts and flooding decrease food stability in Chad and the surrounding region.
map: CIA Factbook