Archive of Jun 2008

World Politics Review: Chad Rebel Uprising Fizzles, but Security Remains Elusive

Three weeks after Chadian rebels mounted their third major challenge this year to President Idriss Déby’s troubled regime, the fighting has dwindled to a few isolated gunfights on the barren eastern border with Sudan. Instead of the regime-toppling attack that the Sudan-based rebels promised in their press releases — something akin to their February offensive [...]


World Politics Review: Central African Refugee Crisis Ignored

As people commemorated U.N. World Refugee Day on Friday, a new humanitarian crisis was quietly brewing in the backyard of another, far more widely known crisis. In southern Chad, just a few hundred miles from camps housing a quarter-million Darfuri refugees, some 60,000 displaced persons from Central African Republic, having fled a growing civil conflict [...]

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Balmy Chad Siesta

It’s hot here. So hot that by 11:00 in the morning it’s getting hard to move. I lie in my cot in my tent, snoozing in brief spurts – and, between naps, pouring bottled water on my head. It’s the temperature of half-hour-old coffee, but it’s cool as it evaporates, which it does in seconds. [...]

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Candy Men

It’s not like there are rebel hordes nightly assaulting the earthen walls of the EUFOR North Star Camp near Iriba, eastern Chad, where two platoons of Polish troops, plus a grab-bag of French and Irish, are hunkered down in the heat, sand and occasional mud. Still, the Irish troopers man the ramparts, and when the [...]


Runaway Tent!

Fair access to water and firewood are big motivators in rebellions in Chad, Central African Republic and the Darfur region of Sudan, according to Alain Lapierre, a manager with aid group CARE International. Indeed, these two things are never far from the minds of the 18,000 North Darfuri refugees in Iridima and the original residents [...]

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Iridimi Well Spats

The issue of security in eastern Chad is a complex one. Conflict here takes many forms, from mass incursions by well-armed Sudan-based rebels … to shoving matches between matrons at the local water well. Growing resource shortages underpin the regional conflict that includes Chad’s proxy war in Sudan and Sudan’s proxy wars in Chad and [...]


Monkey Bite in Dry Iriba

A sandstorm followed by thunder and rain knocked out communications on Sunday night, so we never got confirmation of our scheduled U.N. flight to the refugee town of Iriba on Monday. We went to the airport anyways, and in true African style, somehow wound up on the right plane despite having way more baggage than [...]

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Inter Press Service: Chad Peacekeepers Caught in War of Words

The European Union’s first major overseas military deployment — to the impoverished central African nation of Chad — is caught in a war of words between the country’s president and tenacious rebel groups operating on Chad’s arid border with Sudan. On Monday, Chadian President Idriss Deby accused the peacekeepers of effectively aiding rebel groups, sparking [...]

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Deserters (Updated)

It started with singing. I was in my sweltering hovel – I mean, typical Chadian room – at a guest house in Abeche in eastern Chad on Friday evening when I heard the women’s voices harmonizing. My photographer Anne bustled over. “Do you hear it? I think it’s a wedding.” We hopped the fence, audio [...]


Don’t Go to Biltine

“Don’t go to Biltine,” one aid worker told us. “Oh, Biltine’s fine,” the U.N. said. “Biltine? Are you nuts?” EUFOR said. We needed to go to Biltine, a regional center, to seek the governor’s blessing to continue our work. The road between Abeche and Biltine saw some of the early fighting between rebels and the [...]


Abeche: Chad’s Dusty Outpost

The French troops at the N’Djamena airport were wearing short shorts (pictured) – the kind you usually associate with cheesy beach movies starring Elvis, only these were in camo pattern. We trudged aboard a Greek C-130 for the quick flight to Abeche, the fortified eastern outpost occupied by the Chadian army, EUFOR and the U.N. [...]


Abeche Bound

I’ve got my photographer, my authorizations and a flight to Abeche in eastern Chad, headquarters for the massive aid effort and for Chad’s fight against the rebels. Now the fun starts.