By Ahmed Adel
This report addresses the resurgence of conflict between the Chadian military forces and armed movements along the northern borders of Chad and Libya, particularly in the border region of Tibesti. The renewal of hostilities coincides with regional tensions, including those in neighboring Niger and Mali, as well as the pressure arising from the influx of Sudanese refugees into eastern regions of Chad.
The report examines the escalating violence in the northern regions, beginning in July 2023, which has undermined efforts to achieve reconciliation and peace between the transitional Chadian government and rebel movements.
It also explores the necessity of coordinating with Libya to address the armed movements and the Libyan National Army’s actions against Chadian rebels in the southern Libyan desert.
After a period of relative calm, hostilities have rekindled between the Chadian army and various rebel factions along the northern borders between Chad and Libya. This resurgence comes after a lull in fighting following the death of President Idriss Déby in April 2021.
In an effort to restore peace to the nation, Transitional President Mahamat Idriss Déby initiated several preliminary measures, including the amnesty of hundreds of rebels and encouraging armed groups to participate in peace talks. In August, the “Front for Change and Concord” announced the end of the ceasefire it had declared in 2021 due to an attack by the Chadian military on one of its bases, deeming it an act of war by the ruling Transitional Military Council.
In response, Transitional Chadian President Mahamat Idriss Déby visited the conflict zone in the north and personally pledged to lead operations against the rebel movement.
Escalation of Violence
Since July 2023, violence has gradually intensified in several northern regions, leading to a week-long confrontation between the Chadian military and rebels, resulting in the reported deaths of 23 rebels and 15 Chadian soldiers.
This renewed fighting has hindered efforts to achieve reconciliation and peace between the transitional Chadian government and rebel movements. President Mahamat Idriss Déby issued an amnesty for 380 prisoners from the “Front for Change and Concord,” a group estimated to comprise between 1,000 and 1,500 members, in an attempt to encourage their full participation in peace talks.
Coordinating with Libya
Due to the deployment of Libyan Government of National Accord forces along the Chad-Libya border, Chad has recognized the need for comprehensive coordination with Tripoli. President Mahamat Idriss Déby met with Deputy Head of the Libyan Presidential Council Musa Al-Koni and discussed the necessity of expelling armed groups from the border region.
The Libyan National Army, under the command of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, also launched an offensive against Chadian rebels in the southern Libyan desert, following the rebels’ seizure of over 2,000 under-construction homes in the Umm al-Aranib area of Murzuq.
Challenges to Chad’s Fragile Stability:
Chad has been facing various security challenges on multiple fronts. The northern border with Libya has seen a resurgence of rebel movements. Furthermore, the threat of terrorism from the Nigerian group Boko Haram around Lake Chad, along with communal violence in the east, center, and south of the country, presents a formidable challenge to the fragile stability the transitional government is striving to establish while initiating wide-ranging transitional measures.
The ongoing confrontations between the Chadian army and rebel movements, coupled with regional tensions and security challenges, pose a significant threat to Chad’s stability and the transitional government’s efforts to establish peace. It is imperative for all stakeholders to prioritize dialogue and diplomatic solutions to prevent further escalation of violence and destabilization in the region.