N’DJAMENA (Reuters) – Chad’s parliament voted on Tuesday to extend a state of emergency by four months in three provinces where fighting between rival ethnic groups have surged in recent weeks.
The state of emergency is in place in the western Tibesti region bordering Niger and the eastern Sila and Ouaddai regions bordering Sudan. It was first declared by Chad’s Council of Ministers on August 19.
At least 50 people were killed in clashes between semi-nomadic cattle herders of President Idriss Deby’s Zaghawa ethnic group and settled farmers mostly from the Ouaddian community last month.
“The next four months will allow the government to roll out enough armed forces to re-establish order and achieve disarmament,” said Ismael Chaibo, minister of territorial administration.
Chadian armed forces already face security threats on multiple fronts, including a Boko Haram Islamist insurgency in its southwest, near Lake Chad, and a northern rebellion based in neighbouring Libya that French warplanes in February intervened to halt.
Deby’s fight against Islamist militants – he has deployed troops to counter groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State in the Sahel and Lake Chad region – has strained the military, leaving it ill-equipped to tackle a new source of insecurity.
Reporting by Madjiasra Nako; Writing by Juliette Jabkhiro; Editing by Angus MacSwan