Eufor troops were dispatched to eastern Chad to protect civilians. But in a zone about half the size of France, 3,000 men is not much - and they do not have the right to arrest the region's numerous bandits.
For the first time since their arrival in Chad, Eufor troops enter the village of Troan in the country's east. Their aim is both to let the population know of their presence in the region and to collect information.
Villagers say they need protection against bandits. They accuse the Zaghawas - the ethnic group to which Chadian President Idriss Deby belongs - of being the robbers.
The inhabitants accuse Zaghawas of having killed three people here a few days ago while trying to steal some cattle. One man was injured and is currently in the nearby health centre. His relatives are angry. One of them vents his frustration: “Here some groups are never bothered, if they are arrested they are then rapidly released."
Eufor's mandate is to protect civilians in the region. But in a zone about half the size of France, 3,000 men is not much, and they don't have the mandate to arrest bandits.
French General Jean-Philippe Ganascia assesses the situation: “When we leave for another area, incidents are bound to start again here, because there are too many weapons in this region, because there is no established judicial system. But that wasn't our mission. Our presence will have helped to show that the answer to the problems here are maybe not of a military kind.”
After six months in eastern Chad, it's a candid and disillusioned assessment by Eufor's commander.
Date created : 2008-09-28