25th Oct 2016

Chad rebels say French EU peacekeepers 'not neutral'

Chad's rebels have warned the EU not to send peacekeepers to the country, fearing the troops will not be neutral in the dispute between them and General Idriss Deby, the country's ruler.

The rebel alliance issued a statement on Monday (11 February) from Gabon saying they do not trust a force composed mainly of French troops, the former colonial master. They believe the troops will be there to support the Deby government.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

European commanders say they are to remain neutral and are only there to ensure the safety of refugees displaced from Sudan's Darfur region and due to other regional conflicts.

Deployment of a European peacekeeping force, EUFOR-Chad-CAR, was delayed at the start of February when rebels made a lightning advance on the capital, N'Djamena.

However, the N'Djamena airport reopened on Monday, permitting deployment of the 3,700-strong EU force.

A spokesperson for the force said that if the airport allowed EUFOR-Chad-CAR's cargo planes to land, the deployment could resume today (12 February), according to an AFP report.

During the rebel advance, French troops on the ground offered medical and logistical support to government forces.

France has denied reports in their domestic press that French special forces have already engaged in combat with rebels.

French daily La Croix reported that Deby's forces pushed rebels back from the capital with help from members of the French special operations command.

Responding to the reports, French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner said: "There was no involvement of the French special forces - not by Thursday night, in any case," according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, the 400 Irish troops that are taking part in the deployment have been told they will be viewed as a hostile force if they arrive along with the French troops. The rebels have called on Ireland to pull out of the EU force, according to the Irish Times.

"If EUFOR is made up of forces other than French, we don't have a problem with it," a rebel spokesperson said, the Irish daily reports.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFADraft Bill for a 2nd Scottish Independence Referendum
  2. UNICEFCalls on European Council to Address Plight of Refugee and Migrant Children
  3. ECTAJoin us on 9-10 November in Brussels and Discover the new EU Digital Landscape
  4. Access NowCan you Hear me now? Verizon’s Opportunity to Stand for Global Users
  5. Belgrade Security ForumMeaningful Dialogue Missing Not Only in the Balkans, but Throughout Europe
  6. EASPDJoin the Trip! 20 Years on the Road. Conference & Photo Exhibition on 19-21 October
  7. EuropecheEU Fishing Sector Celebrates Sustainably Sourced Seafood in EU Parliament
  8. World VisionWomen and Girls Urge EU Leadership to Help end Gender-based Violence
  9. Dialogue PlatformIs Jihadism Blind Spot of Western Intellectuals ? Wednesday 26 October
  10. Belgrade Security ForumGet the Latest News and Updates on the Belgrade Security Forum @BelSecForum
  11. Crowdsourcing Week EuropeMaster Crowdsourcing, Crowdfunding and Innovation! Conference 21 November - 10% Discount Code CSWEU16
  12. EJCEU Parliament's Roadmap for Relations with Iran a Massive Missed Opportunity