N’DJAMENA – Chad’s government on Friday paraded captured rebels it said were recruited by Sudan as the capital N’Djamena recovered from a surprise raid by insurgents fighting President Idriss Deby.
The government said it repulsed Thursday’s early morning attack in fighting that killed around 100 people and wounded 200, according to officials. But rebel leaders vowed to continue their campaign to oust Deby and disrupt elections next month.
Ms. Seibold point out the following:
-This is more than a localized conflict, in proximity to Darfur. The rebels in this article were active in N’Djamena, the capital city, which is in the southern half of the country near the western border with Cameroon.
-Chad has a makeup highly similar to Sudan– including a 35% Christian population, mostly in the south.
-Chad is also a petroleum-producing country. The oilfields? They’re in the south, as well.
-Though Muslim, the target of the coup attempt, President Idriss DÃ©by Itno, is a member of the Zaghawa tribe, which, interestingly, is found mainly in Eastern Chad and Western Sudan, including Darfur. Moreover, the Zaghawa are the dominant political force in Chad, but a local minority in Sudan. And yes, like the victims of the government-backed janjaweed in Sudan, they’re not Arabs.
-This isn’t the first time Chad has been targeted by an Arab neighbor, with Libya seizing and holding the Aozou Strip in the north of the country from 1976 to 1987.
It’s not difficult to connect the geopolitical dots. Chad is seen as ripe for the sort of activity that has plagued Sudan; if it falls to sympathizers with Khartoum, only mostly Christian/animist Cameroon stands in the way of creating an unbroken chain of Islamist territory from northern Nigeria to Sudan, and paving the way to spread Arab influence in North Africa further south.