SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 4 February 2023, Saturday |

Chad to halve its troops fighting Sahel militants, spokesperson says

Chad has chosen to withdraw half of its 1,200 troops fighting Islamist terrorists in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger’s tri-border region, according to a Chadian government spokeswoman.

Chad sent the troops in February to help a regional war against al Qaeda and Islamic State terrorists who have destabilized large swaths of land in West Africa’s Sahel area in recent years.

General Azem Bermandoa Agouna, addressing on behalf of Chad’s Transitional Military Council, said the decision to remove 600 of these soldiers was made with the consent of Chad’s Sahel partners.

The recalled Chadian troops would be redeployed elsewhere, Agouna said, without giving further details.

The authorities in Chad have faced a separate conflict this year with insurgents in the north.

France has also said it plans to reduce its presence in the Sahel to around half the current level of some 5,100 soldiers, although it has given no timeframe.

The former colonial power has hailed some successes against the militants in recent months, but the situation is extremely fragile with hundreds of civilians killed in rebel attacks this year.

Mahamat Idriss Deby, who leads the Transitional Military Council (CMT), has run Chad since his father, the former president, was killed while visiting the front line in April.

Earlier in August, Deby invited the rebels to participate in a national dialogue.

A military source said the 600 troops would be sent to Chad’s northern border with Libya and Sudan to disarm rebels seeking to return to take part in these talks, which are scheduled for the end of the year.

On Saturday, Deby said the talks would not succeed unless all stakeholders were represented.

    Source:
  • Reuters