Another week, another round of accusations and threats between Chad and Sudan, as recent allegations and threats between the two governments fuel a toxic climate of mistrust that makes it easy to dismiss all of the multiple peace agreements signed between the two states in recent years. Last week, Sudan alleged that Chadian armed forces launched an air raid on rebels in Umm Dukhun, a town in West Darfur.
On Monday, the Sudanese government filed a complaint against Chad with the U.N. Security Council, alleging that Chad had repeatedly violated agreements signed by the neighbors. Sudan’s ambassador to the U.N., Abdul-Mahmoud Abdul-Halim said that Sudan retained the right to respond to the “criminal and unjustifiable” raids. Many UN diplomats expressed skepticism that the Security Council would act on the complaint as both Sudan and Chad launch frequent complaints about the other. Khartoum also accused France of backing the raid because of its continued military presence in its former colony.
Chad has denied the latest accusations and reiterated its belief that Sudan is fueling the conflict. Mahamat Hissene, Chad’s information minister and government spokesman, stated that Chad did not touch the civilian population or the Sudanese army. He asserted that Sudan was actually the neighbor launching attacks by sending groups across the border with small arms and ammunition for rebels.
In May, shortly after the "nasty neighbors" (hat-tip, Colin Thomas-Jensen in this 2008 Enough strategy paper) signed a new peace accord agreeing to cease hostilities, Sudan accused Chad of conducting three air raids in Darfur. Chad then retaliated with (to be fair somewhat justified) accusations that Sudan had backed rebel forces who crossed the border to attempt another (unsuccessful) coup attempt, the fourth in as many years. The ongoing conflict between the two neighbors is undoubtedly an obstacle to lasting peace and security in Darfur.
Stay tuned for a new Enough strategy paper on Chad next week, which takes a close look at Chad’s internal crisis and its impact on international efforts to forge a comprehensive peace in the troubled region.