Chad to send 1,500 troops to Libya in support of Marshal Haftar

After Egypt, the African country shows its military support to the Libyan National Liberation Army (LNA)
Chadian soldiers patrolling near the village of Gamboru on February 4

AFP/STÉPHANE YAS  -   Chadian soldiers patrolling near the village of Gamboru on February 4

At least 1,500 Chadian soldiers will be sent to Libya on Saturday as temporary reinforcements to the forces of Marshal Khalifa Hafter, tutor to the unrecognized Executive in the east of the country, sources from the General Staff of the Chadian Army informed Efe today. "This is not the first time that Chad has agreed to Marshal Khalifa Haftar's request. Between October 2017 and January 2019, we already sent some 2,500 Chadian soldiers to support Haftar," a senior military commander told Efe on condition of anonymity. "The Chadian authorities believe that Haftar is part of the solution to the Libyan problem," as opposed to the militias that support the National Accord Government supported by the UN in Tripoli, the source added. 

A decision, however, criticized by human rights organizations in Chad, which consider that Chadian President Idriss Déby is only pursuing his own interests. "It is mercenarism that the president is practicing. By sending soldiers to Libya he expects Hafter's support to fight against armed opponents (to his government) operating from Libya," the secretary general of the Chadian Convention on Human Rights (Ctddh), Mahamat Nour Ahmat Ibedou, told Efe. "This deployment of thousands of Chadian soldiers has nothing to do with Chad. President Déby must stop this policy," continued this activist. 

The political power of the head of state is threatened by Chadian rebel groups based in southern Libya, including the Union of Forces for Resistance (UFR), the Military Command Council for the Salvation of the Republic (CCSMR) or the Front for Alternation and Concord in Chad (FACTO). These groups often make incursions into Chad, so Déby wants Haftar's support to put an end to these insurgent activities, which could destabilize the power she has held since 1990. 

Libya is a failed state, a victim of chaos and civil war, since in 2011 NATO contributed militarily to the victory of the various rebel groups over the dictatorship of Muammar al-Qadhafi. Since the failed peace process promoted by the UN, the fratricidal conflict has become a totally privatized multinational confrontation, without armies, fought by local militias and foreign mercenaries. Over the past 14 months, fighting has intensified and claimed the lives of more than 1,800 people - nearly 400 of them civilians - injured some 20,000 and forced some 200,000 to flee their homes and become internally displaced persons.