Central African Republic a Crisis Too Far for Chad’s Regional Security Ambitions

Central African Republic a Crisis Too Far for Chad’s Regional Security Ambitions

With Chad’s announcement in early April that it was pulling its peacekeeping troops out of the Central African Republic (CAR), the country finally seemed to be bending to widespread criticism of the actions of its soldiers. Things had gone from bad to worse for Chad’s armed forces, the ANT, from a high point last year when its role in support of France’s Operation Serval in Mali was widely praised.

The ANT’s achievement in Mali has been overshadowed by recent events in the CAR, including reports from the African Union’s MISCA peacekeeping force in Bangui that Chadian soldiers in a suburb of the capital had opened fire in late March, killing at least 24 local people. Precise details of the incident were difficult to clarify, but MISCA’s information suggested that the Chadian soldiers had been attacked by Christian anti-Balaka groups angry at Chadian troops’ alleged collusion with Seleka, a coalition made up of fellow Muslims. Later reports suggested that the Chadian soldiers were not in fact peacekeepers from MISCA, but troops sent in by N’Djamena to help evacuate Chadian citizens stranded in the CAR.

Whatever the truth of the incident, it underlines the murky reality of Chad’s involvement in its southern neighbor’s fortunes. It was the third time since December that Chadian soldiers have opened fire and killed local people in Central African Republic, and in January, Human Rights Watch accused Chadian peacekeeping troops of having “facilitated the movement of armed Seleka leaders complicit in grave abuses.”

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