Five days after the launch of the Serval operation in Mali, January 16, Chadian President Idriss Deby announce? Has sent a contingent the Chadian National Army (ANT) to combat jihadist groups in Mali, in coordination with the forces of Misma (International Support Mission in Mali). Although not a member of the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West Africa), Chad has sent the largest contingent in the African country. Some 2,400 soldiers under the command of the president’s son, General Mahamat Idriss Deby, are now deployed in the country.
Boarded columns of tanks and topped with 4 x 4 armored cars, the first Chadian soldiers arrived in Mali, January 26, from neighboring Niger. Gao, Kidal, into the massive Ifoghas in the extreme northeast of the country, the troops of General Deby supported the growth of French forces? Ease. With the single mission, according to its terms, to “combat terrorism and eradicate the region.”
FIGHTING to “VERY SHORT”
The heart ties of French military, Chadian soldiers on the front lines of the “second phase” of the Serval operation launched four weeks ago to protect Bamako a jihadist attack and rid the north of Mali Islamist armed groups. While other African troops are mainly stationed in the south of Mali, more than 2,500 soldiers from Chad and Niger based 4000 French soldiers? Ais (special forces, paratroopers, Legionnaires) in their advance against jihadist groups entrenched in the massive Ifoghas, a desert and mountainous area in north-eastern Mali.
Read the report: In the rocks of the Adrar Tigharghar a crucial battle has begun
In this area, especially in the valley of Ametettai, which seems to be the epicenter of the fighting, they track jihadists in caves and caverns in inaccessible valleys, with the support of local people and Touareg which serve as guides. Supported by planes and helicopters preparing the intervention of ground forces, they inflicted heavy losses during violent jihadists fighting in “very short.”
Chadian forces and claimed to have killed the emir of southern Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), Abdelhamid Abou Zeid, and former leader of AQIM, the Islamist leader Mokhtar Belmokhtar. Information not confirmed by Paris, Bamako and Algiers. These victories, however, have paid a high price by Chadian troops: February 22, 26 Chadian soldiers were killed in clashes with jihadist forces in the massive Ifoghas.
A MA? TRISE GROUND
In this battle in the desert and mountainous area, Chadian fighters have advantages of size. “These are extremely experienced troops to fight in the desert, unlike the armies of ECOWAS,” notes Philippe Hugon, director of research at the Institute of International and Strategic Relations (IRIS) in charge of Africa. “They withstand extreme heat well, they know that the opponent is very mobile because it is a war of pickup, where jihadists are moving all the time,” says the researcher. However, the Chadian soldiers also a perfect ma? Trise moving fast in the desert, without landmarks.
“The Chadian fighters are familiar with this type of relief and mobility, a rustic well suited. They fight with fairly comparable to those used by paramilitary jihadist groups methods,” adds Pascal Le Pautremat, specialist defense issues. The Adrar des Ifoghas indeed resembles much to the cha? Nes Tibesti Mountains in northern Chad, the Chadian army in 2004, routed the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC) of Abderazak famous “El Para”, the movement had infiltrated Chad. In the same region, Chadian soldiers were also hunted for ten years, between 1993 and 2003, the rebel Movement for Democracy and Justice in Chad (MDJT).
AN ARMY OF EXPERIENCE
The Chadian army is reputed to be one of the best in the region, with 30,000 active soldiers and modern funded by oil. “There is certainly the flagship of the Mali Chadian army,” said Philippe Hugon. Elements of the army mainly from the Zaghawa ethnic group loyal to President D??by – who is coming – and compounds including anti-terrorism special forces trained by the U.S. Army in 2004.
Within the various military operations in Chad, their reputation is second to none. Chadians are illustrated several rebellions against the Sudanese Darfur. In December, just before committing to Mali, Chad’s army is positioned “peacekeeping force” in neighboring Central African Republic, to stop the progression of the rebel coalition Seleka, who had seized the most of the country before ending up on the outskirts of Bangui.
Another advantage: the Chadian soldiers used to operate with the French army comfortable?. The latter had set up operations in Chad Manta (1983) and Sparrowhawk (1986), making a decisive aid to Chadian army against the Libyan troops, combined with the Chadian opposition Goukouni Ou??dde?. “There is a tradition of action, training and coaching fran? Ais in Chad,” said Philippe Hugon.
GAIN WEIGHT POLICY
For Philippe Hugon, the valuable support provided by the Chadian army certainly has a price. “Although President D??by had a debt-to-vis France who saved his setting intervening militarily to prevent the Sudanese army to overthrow him in 2008,” says the researcher. It remains that the involvement in the war in Chad Mali is also a means for D??by to stand guarantor of stability in the Sahel region and prevent the progression of jihadists to the country.
The war in Mali is in effect for Chad a kind of “preventive war” against the jihadist threat, noted Philippe Hugon. A jihadist threat has increased in several neighboring countries, like Nigeria, where the violence of Boko Haram and their repression by the security forces were about 3,000 dead since 2009. “This danger (Islamist) also threaten us. (…) We have to consider the situation in Mali as the n? Very clean. Because none of the Sahel countries today can claim to escape and be alone for stop it. Skip to Mali, the fight Chadians, “has said bluntly he and Saleh Kebzabo main opponent.
See more about: best toaster ovens 2013