The Military of Chad consists of the Armed Forces (includes Ground Force, Air Force, and Gendarmerie), Republican Guard, Rapid Intervention Force, Police, and National and Nomadic Guard (GNNT). Currently the main task of the Chadian military is to combat the various rebel forces inside the country.
From independence through the period of the presidency of Félix Malloum (1975-79), the official national army was known as the Chadian Armed Forces (Forces Armées Tchadiennes—FAT). Composed mainly of soldiers from southern Chad, FAT had its roots in the army recruited by France and had military traditions dating back to World War I. FAT lost its status as the legal state army when Malloum's civil and military administration disintegrated in 1979. Although it remained a distinct military body for several years, FAT was eventually reduced to the status of a regional army representing the south.
After Habré consolidated his authority and assumed the presidency in 1982, his victorious army, the Armed Forces of the North (Forces Armées du Nord—FAN), became the nucleus of a new national army. The force was officially constituted in January 1983, when the various pro-Habré contingents were merged and renamed FANT.
The Military of Chad was dominated by members of Toubou, Zaghawa, Kanembou, Hadjerai, and Massa ethnic groups during the presidency of Hissène Habré. Current Chadian president Idriss Déby, revolted and fled to the Sudan, taking with him many Zaghawa and Hadjerai soldiers in 1989.
Chad's armed forces numbered about 36,000 at the end of the Habré regime, but swelled to an estimated 50,000 in the early days of Déby's rule. With French support, a reorganization of the armed forces was initiated early in 1991 with the goal of reducing its numbers and making its ethnic composition reflective of the country as a whole. Neither of these goals was achieved, and the military is still dominated by the Zaghawa.
In 2004, the government discovered that many of the soldiers it was paying did not exist and that there were only about 19,000 soldiers in the army, as opposed to the 24,000 that had been previously believed. Government crackdowns against the practice are thought to have been a factor in a failed military mutiny in May 2004.
The current conflict, in which the Chadian military is involved, is the civil war against Sudanese-backed rebels. Chad successfully manages to repel the rebel movements, but recently, with some losses (see Battle of N'Djamena (2008)). The army uses its artillery systems and tanks, but well-equipped insurgents have probably managed to destroy over 20 of Chad's 60 tanks, and probably shot down a Mi-24 Hind gunship, which has bombed enemy positions near the border with Sudan. In November 2006 Libya supplied Chad with four Aermacchi SF.260W light attack planes. They are used to strike enemy positions by the Chadian Air Force, but one has been shot down by rebels. During the last battle of N'Djamena gunships and tanks have been put to good use, pushing armed militia forces back from the Presidential palace. The battle impacted the highest levels of the army leadership, as Daoud Soumain, its Chief of Staff, was killed.
Full article ▸