Chadian gunmen killed an African Union peacekeeper and wounded at least 10 others in an attack in the Darfur region near the Sudan-Chad border, Sudanese authorities said Jan. 7. It was not clear whether the attackers were from the Chadian army or were government-linked tribesmen, a Sudanese military official said. But Mahjoub Hussein, a spokesman for the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA), one of the rebel groups fighting in Darfur, said the attack was carried out by the Sudanese army. Officials from the African Union, which has more than 6,000 peacekeepers in Darfur, were not immediately available for comment, Reuters said. The attack came a day after Chad said Sudanese militiamen killed nine civilians in a cross-border raid. (Reuters, Jan. 7)
In late December, Chad’s government announced it is in “a state of war” with Sudan, which it accused of aiding Chadian rebels trying to overthrow President Idriss Deby. The statement called Sudan the “common enemy of the nation,” after a Chadian rebel attack on a border town left some 100 dead. (UPI, Dec. 25)
The tension comes just as the World Bank has suspended loans to Chad on the grounds that the government has broken an agreement to use oil revenues for poverty relief. Bank president Paul Wolfowitz told reporters in a conference that he spent two hours Jan. 6 talking to Idriss Deby, the New York Times reported. “I think it’s very much in the interests of the Chadian government to establish in the eyes of everybody that they are honorable parties to the agreements that they undertake,” Wolfowitz said. He said that Deby told him Chad has the right, as a sovereign nation, to decide on its own spending.
Chad’s parliament voted last week to allow oil revenues to be spent on the military as well as education, roads and other civilian uses. The World Bank has $124 million in outstanding loans to Chad, including one that helps fund a new oil pipeline. Despite new oil revenues, most of Chad’s citizens live on less than a dollar a day. (UPI, Jan. 7)