Chad explains “strategic redeployment” in Sahel

Chad is repatriating 600 of its 1,200 soldiers positioned in the “Three Border Area” between Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.Ndjamena…

Chad is repatriating 600 of its 1,200 soldiers positioned in the “Three Border Area” between Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.Ndjamena justifies this decision announced on Saturday by a “strategic redeployment” to better adapt to the organization of terrorist groups. However, the concomitance of this decision with the deadly attack that occurred the same day in Niger, causing a dozen deaths among civilians, may come as a surprise. In a week, the three-border area has suffered two bloody attacks that have left around 50 people dead.

Faced with the prevailing insecurity, 1,200 soldiers had been occupying the area since February, as part of the G5 Sahel anti-jihadist force. The aim of this measure was to curb the numerous terrorist attacks perpetrated by groups affiliated to al-Qaeda or the Islamic State of the Great Sahara (EIGS).

According to Abderaman Koulamallah, Chad’s Minister of Communication and government spokesman, his country had a “surplus” of soldiers in the battalion scheme on the battlefield. He stressed that this decision was made in agreement with the G5 Sahel command. “With regard to the situation on the ground, it is necessary to have a mobile force, hence the withdrawal of some of our forces with their heavy weapons,” the government spokesman said.

The Boko Haram and FACT threat

However, this decision by Chad can also be based on the security threats that weigh on the country. Recent Boko Haram attacks in the Lake Chad region have already resulted in the death of 26 Chadian soldiers.

Chad, a landlocked central African State also faces constant attacks from the ‘Front de l’Alternance et de la Concorde’ (FACT) from the northern front in Libya. It was during the violent fighting against this FACT rebellion that Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno, who had just been re-elected for a sixth term in the presidential elections, died of his wounds on April 20, 2021.

Faced with these threats, the fifth largest country on the continent intends to strengthen its internal security, especially in the run-up to the inclusive national conference in December. A meeting that is expected to involve all Chadian politico-military movements based in Libya, Sudan and along the common border areas. The junta led by Mahamat Idriss Deby, son of the late president, on August 10, called for an “inclusive national dialogue” between these Chadian “armed groups,” in order to create a “collective impetus and a spurt of national unity and community life.”

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