Chad Rebels’ Last Chance
Chadâ€™s rainy season is coming. With the exception of U.N. and E.U. aircraft, transportation in the barren country will most grind to a halt. That means the U.N. must rush to get newly arrived refugees â€” from Darfur and the Central African Republic â€” settled into their camps.
It also means that Chadâ€™s rebel groups, which twice attacked the capital of Nâ€™djamena this year, have just a couple weeks left to make a final assault. That fact has fueled rumors of a rebel army cruising around eastern Chad in hundreds of pickup trucks. Now the E.U. peacekeeping boss says the rumor is BS, according to AFP:
â€œRight now, we have no information to suggest that a raid comparable to the February push â€” or even the one on April 1 â€” might be forthcoming,” Brigadier-General Jean-Philippe Ganascia told a press conference.
â€œIf (an attack) does nevertheless materialise, we would obviously have to take special measures with regard to refugee camps and our own personnel,” he added of the eastern Chad area bordering Sudanâ€™s Darfur which has been wrought by civil war for the past five years.
“The Chadian force (pictured) is solid. They learnt numerous lessons from the February attack,” Ganascia stated. “To my mind, no attack is imminent and we are entitled to ask ourselves what military potential the rebels retain.
“Is it sufficient (to attack)? Is there an adequate unity of command? Is there enough political unity?
“For the last two months now, we have been hearing about a phantom convoy of 200-300 pick-ups driving around (Chad). So far, we havenâ€™t seen it,” he underlined.
But attacks on aid groups have forced them to abandon several projects, I was told today. And those groups that remain, when they move, stick close to convoys protected by the E.U. and Chadian armies.
The good news is that in a couple weeks, the rains will make rebel attacks highly unlikely. The bad news is that the rains make helping Chadâ€™s hundreds of thousands of refugees all that much harder.