Defence

EU troops one step closer to Chad deployment

28.08.07 @ 09:23

  1. By Helena Spongenberg

The European Union has been given the go-ahead to prepare for military deployment in Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR) together with the UN, to protect refugees and civilians caught in the spill over violence of the Darfur conflict.

  • Darfur refugees need protection from the Sudan government-linked militia (Photo: Notat)

The initial green light given by a UN security council statement on Monday (27 August) could mean that 3,000 EU soldiers will, by October, be deployed in eastern Chad and north-eastern CAR for a year.

Under a proposal by UN chief Ban Ki-moon, the EU force would protect civilians, humanitarian workers and the UN mission in Chad and CAR, which is facing an influx of refugees from Darfur.

The force would also work in the area to try to block the transit of armed groups between Sudan and Chad. EU foreign ministers will make a final decision on deploying EU troops to the African region at a meeting in September.

France is expected to make up most of the EU force as it already has 3,000 military personnel in Chad – a former French colony. Polish defence minister Aleksander Szczyglo last week said that Polish soldiers would join the proposed EU mission in Chad.

In Darfur, at least 200,000 people are estimated to have died and more than 2 million have fled their homes since fighting flared in 2003, when African rebels took up arms against the Arab-dominated Sudan government, in a conflict started over water resources.