Friday, January 06, 2017

Chad Closes Its Long Border With Libya for Security Reasons
Digital Journal

N'djamena - Chadian Prime Minister Albert Padacke has closed its long 2,000 kilometer northern border with neighbouring Libya. The move is designed to prevent an influx of militant fighters including Islamic State(IS) fighters fleeing conflict in Libya.

The government said it will deploy troops to the border area. Padacke said: "Some isolated... groups have converged toward the south of Libya, that is to say on the northern border of our country, which is potentially exposed to a serious threat of... infiltration." Padacke declared the border area a "zone of military operation".

In spite of having a struggling economy Chad's army is now one of the strongest in the region and has played a key role in fighting the militant group from Nigeria Boko Haram. Chad has also been part of a regional alliance led by Nigeria fighting against the militant group. The group, which is mainly based in northern Nigeria, has managed to expand its militancy to neighboring Chad, Niger and Cameroon. The long desert border with Libya will be difficult to police and militants along with smugglers can often cross without being detected.

Chad is a key supporter of the West in fighting Islamist militants in the area. President Idriss Deby Itno is supported by both the United States and France, who need the Chadian military to cooperate with them in the fight against terrorism. Deby is in his fifth term and there have been protests against him.

In a message on radio and TV Padacke said: “Faced with the perils that threaten all of the nation's territory, the government decided for one thing to close our land border with Libya, and for another to declare the regions bordering Libya military operation zones." An article in Press TV suggests that among the groups Chad fears are ethnic Tubu people who live in the northern Tibesti mountains. The sparsely populated area is used for moving contraband by people living on both sides of the border. The Chadian move may also help to ensure that the remaining Islamic State fighters in Libya do not migrate to more southern areas of Africa by moving through Chad.

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