Chadian troops, part of the African Union AU, peacekeeping forces, would withdraw from Central African Republic, CAR, on allegations that Chad backed the Seleka Rebels who ousted Francoise Bozize and stirred the sectarian violence in the country.
Although the 850 Chadian troops have been vital in peacekeeping as well as protecting the interim government of Catherine Samba-Panza, the internal fighting between the ex-Seleka Muslim rebels and Anti-Balaka, Christian militia groups have, put their loyalty at test.
As the Muslim minority population (15 %) have been constantly chased by Anti-Balaka machetes armed fighters, the Chadian troops have had to intervene to impede mass massacre and atrocities.
However, it has been hard to establish if the Chadians’ military actions have been that of merely peacekeeping or simply that to defend the Muslim community or ex-Seleka rebels with some from Chad.
The last week’s killing of about 30 people and injuring 300 in Bangui by the Chadian forces further worsen the accusations that Chad was a double-edged sword in CAR – sponsoring the rebels and fighting the battle for them in disguise of peacekeeping.
Before Francoise Bozize fled the capital city, Bangui last Easter, as the Seleka rebels closed in, Chadian Special Forces were said to provide presidential guards before Bozize fell apart with his Chadian boss, Idriss Deby.
Bozize, who himself snatched power from Ange-Felix Patasse in a coup in 2003 actually launched his rebellion from Chadian territory before heading towards Bangui.
Although Bozize attempts to fight back ex-Seleka from exile, can be traced to be the origin of the sectarian violence, which stated from his birthplace, speaking from exile recently, Bozize instead accused the Chadian government for fanning the flames – fuelling the conflict and helping the rebels to eject him from power.
Chad’s ambiguous position
With the downfall of Bangui, Seleka’s leader Michel Djotodia self proclaimed himself as the president, the first as a Muslim, after Bozize had fled to Cameroon.
Chad that presumably has the last word in the politics of Bangui never openly recognized nor criticised the Seleka’s conquest, but hosted a regional summit that condemned the ousting of Bozize.
Whether acting with orders from Ndjamena or not Djotodia wholly struggled to realise any reforms and to extend his authority beyond Bangui in a lawless country of 80 % Christian.
His Seleka rebels instead terrorised supporters of Bozize and looted businesses and government institutions, and refused to disarm and be part of the national army.
After the sectarian violence, which stated on 13 December 2013 left close to 700 killed and 1 million displaced as Seleka and Anti-balaka fight, and Djotobia feeble to resolved the crisis, it was Chad that organised a regional summit again in Ndjamena.
Chadian President Idriss Deby sent a catered plane to bring the Djotodia to the summit, and later the members of parliament and convinced him to give up power.
With Djotodia and his Premier Minister Nicolas Tiangaye easily accepting to step down, it was palpable that Chad had the upper hand over the Seleka rebel-controlled government.
As the fighting in CAR despite a change or regime, AU would have to contribute more troops to replace the Chadians who have played the firelighter roles for too long.
The French troops would certainly felt the impact much, if the Chadians have to leave for they had made good pairing during the conflict in North Mali.
Technically, the absence of Chad would offer more opportunity to the Central Africans to take the destiny of their country into their hands and be ready to shoulder full responsibility in case of failure.