Chad clashes, banditry

This item appears on page 17 of the March 2008 issue.

The State Department advises avoiding travel to eastern Chad and the Chad/Central African Republic border area.

On Oct. 16, 2007, the government of Chad declared a State of Emergency in response to interethnic violence and rebel activity throughout the country, especially in the east. The Chadian national army continues to mobilize and move additional troops to the east and has placed police and military checkpoints in N’Djamena.

The recent “Arche de Zoe” affair, in which a French organization was accused of kidnapping Chadian children, has heightened government scrutiny of humanitarian and other organizations. Demonstrations targeting Westerners have taken place and may recur. 

Reports indicate an increase in the number of highway banditry incidents across the country. Some American citizens have reported harassment at Chadian government roadway checkpoints.

In southern Sudan, along Chad’s border with the Central African Republic (CAR), the situation is volatile, with over 50,000 refugees in Chad who have fled ongoing fighting in the CAR between northern Central African rebels and CAR forces. In the northern Tibesti region and the area north of Lake Chad, there have been occasional clashes between government forces and a rebel group.