Chad army will stop joining regional operations against extremists: President

Soldiers of the Chad Army sit on the back of a Land Cruiser at the Koundoul market, 25 km from N’Djamena, on January 3, 2020, upon their return after a months-long mission fighting Boko Haram in neighboring Nigeria. (AFP)
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Updated 11 April 2020

Chad army will stop joining regional operations against extremists: President

  • “Chad has felt alone in the fight against Boko Haram since we launched this operation,” Deby said in a speech broadcast on Friday
  • Chad’s armed forces are among the most respected in the region

N’DJAMENA: Chad’s army will no longer participate in military operations beyond its borders, President Idriss Deby said on Friday, a potential blow to international efforts to defeat extremist militants in the conflict-hit Sahel and Lake Chad region.
Deby spoke during a visit to the Lake Chad zone in the west of the country to mark the end of an offensive against extremist group Boko Haram, which carried out its deadliest-ever attack on the army in March, killing nearly 100 soldiers in an ambush.
On Thursday, the army said a further 52 soldiers had died in the 10-day counter-operation against Boko Haram, which it said had killed 1,000 of the militants and driven them from two island bases in the lake, which borders Chad, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria.
“Chad has felt alone in the fight against Boko Haram since we launched this operation,” Deby said in a speech broadcast on Friday.
“Our soldiers have died for Lake Chad and the Sahel. From today, no Chadian soldier will take part in an external military operation,” he said.
It was not immediately clear how the decision would impact the anti-extremist operations of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) comprised of troops from countries bordering Lake Chad. Its work had already been complicated by divisions and a lack of cooperation.
Chad’s armed forces are among the most respected in the region, a reputation forged during decades of war and rebellions, and honed in a 2013 campaign against Al-Qaeda-linked extremists in the deserts of northern Mali.
Its suspension of external military operations could also affect the France-backed G5 military force, which battles a growing extremist militancy in the Sahel region with soldiers from Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad.
In recent years, militants linked to both Al-Qaeda and Daesh have strengthened their foothold, making large swathes of territory ungovernable and stoking ethnic violence, especially in Mali and Burkina Faso.


In Bolivia desperate family leaves coffin in the street

Updated 04 July 2020

In Bolivia desperate family leaves coffin in the street

  • The Andean nation has reported 36,818 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,320 deaths

LA PAZ, Bolivia: The rising toll of COVID-19 deaths is overwhelming the Bolivian city of Cochabamba, where desperate relatives of one apparent victim of the new coronavirus left his coffin in the street for several hours on Saturday to protest difficulties in getting him buried.
Neighbor Remberto Arnez said the 62-year-old man had died on Sunday and his body had been in his home ever since, “but that’s risky because of the possible contagion.”
After a few hours, funeral workers showed up and took the coffin to a cemetery.
Police Col. Iván Rojas told a news conference that the city is collecting “about 17 bodies a day. This is collapsing the police personnel and funeral workers” in the city of some 630,000 people.
“The crematorium oven is small, that that is where the bodies are collecting,” said national Labor Minister Óscar Mercado, who told reporters that officials were preparing 250 new burial plots in the city’s main cemetery.
The Andean nation has reported 36,818 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,320 deaths.