AFRICA/CHAD - Why the conflict in Sudan risks destabilizing Chad as well

Saturday, 10 June 2023 refugees   military  

N'Djamena (Agenzia Fides) - The clash between military factions in Sudan has serious humanitarian consequences for neighboring States such as Chad and the Central African Republic, countries which have so far hosted 100,000 and 10,000 Sudanese refugees respectively.
"I would like to thank the extraordinary generosity and solidarity shown by the two countries", said Abdou Abarry, Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations and Head of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa, who believes that Chad needs about $130 million to host the 100,000 Sudanese refugees over the next six months. Laura Lo Castro, UNHCR representative in Chad, estimates that "up to 200,000 additional people" could be forced to "flee to Chad over the next three months".
During a recent visit to the border areas with Sudan, the Chadian Minister of Territorial Administration, Limane Mahamat, met the governors of the three provinces, those of Ouaddaï, Sila and Wadi-Fira, which host Sudanese refugees.
The three governors recommended the rapid relocation of refugees from border regions, increased support for local communities and the strengthening of basic health and education infrastructure.

Despite its oil wealth, Chad is one of the poorest countries in the world. Chad and Sudan share a common border of 1,400 kilometers. They also share the same ethnic groups that live on both sides of their borders. In the recent past, relations between Chad and Sudan have been characterized by conflict, proxy wars and fragile peace agreements.
Sudan's Darfur region plays a crucial role. At different times, Darfur has served as a haven for rebel groups from both countries. Mohammed Hamdan Daglo (or Dagalo), known as "Hemetti", leader of the Rapid Support Forces (RSF), which fights with the regular Sudanese army, is well connected to Chadian political and military factions. He is of Chadian Arab origin and has his stronghold in the Darfur region. His family clan lives on both sides of the border.
Hemetti's cousin, General Bichara Issa Djadalla, is Mahamat Déby's personal Chief of Staff. The victory or defeat of "Hemetti" in Sudan could represent a major risk for the transitional President Déby in Chad. If he wins, Chadian Arabs might feel encouraged to try to seize power in Chad as well. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 10/6/2023)