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Chadian president warns that Sahel troubles are not yet over

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On Tuesday, 19 November 2019, Chadian President Idriss Déby warned that the crises and conflicts affecting neighbouring states are still rife.

“We are not yet at the end of our suffering, despite the immense sacrifice made by Chad’s defence and security forces in the fight against terrorism within the mixed multinational force of the Lake Chad Basin and the joint force of the G5 Sahel,” President Déby said at the opening of a conference of Chadian ambassadors accredited abroad.

“While the operations led by these two forces have weakened and contained terrorist groups, the threat demonstrates disconcerting resilience, as evidenced by the increase in successive deadly attacks in recent weeks in Burkina Faso and Mali,” he observed.

“Faced with these terrorists who aspire only to destroy our states and propagate obscurantism at the cost of massacres and desolation, we have no choice but to wage an all-out war to destroy them in order to ensure our own security and that of the sub-region whose instability has a direct impact on us,” the Chadian leader warned.

The conflicts in the immediate neighbours and the insecurity caused by Boko Haram have had “extremely serious repercussions on Chad’s economy,” he lamented.

Citing his country’s example, he said: “All our exports and imports to Nigeria, our largest economic partner, Libya and CAR, have stopped, causing a huge loss of income and an unprecedented high cost of living in our country.”

In addition to these economic problems, according to Déby, “the massive return to the country of more than 500 000 of our compatriots repatriated from Libya and CAR, not to mention the presence, since 2003, on our soil, of hundreds of thousands of refugees from neighbouring countries.”

“Moreover, it should be recalled that our country, like the entire Sahel, is suffering the consequences of NATO’s intervention in Libya in 2011; an intervention that is a real disaster for which Africa has no responsibility to assume.

One of the consequences of this situation has been that “by 2011, Libya has become a haven for criminal gangs and terrorist groups on all sides, and a source of supply for terrorists active in the Sahel and the Lake Chad basin,” he added. He also argued that the fight against terrorism has become “a burden” that the international community must, as it has done in Afghanistan and the Middle East mainly, share with the Sahel countries.

“We must, therefore, constantly challenge those who have plunged us into this situation of widespread insecurity, without being consulted or prepared, to remind them of their moral duty to keep the many promises they make to us here and there at international fundraising conferences,” the Chadian head of state stressed.

However, he noted that to defeat terrorism, it is necessary to combine military force with “a significant dose of socio-economic development.” 

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