Chad junta chief orders ‘disarmament operation’ after clashes

Chad junta chief orders ‘disarmament operation’ after clashes

Chad junta chief orders ‘disarmament operation’ after clashes

Chad junta chief orders ‘disarmament operation’ (Credit: Google)

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  • No civilian should hold a weapon of war,” General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno.
  • The discovery of gold in the Tibesti 10 years ago sparked a rush of miners.
  • Fighting broke out between gold miners and security forces.
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After 100 people were killed in armed skirmishes in the region, Chad’s ruling junta initiated a “all-out disarming operation” in the far north on Saturday, according to a presidential statement.

40 people were injured in fighting amongst gold miners in Kouri Bougoudi, 30 kilometres (19 miles) from the Libyan border.

“No civilian should hold a weapon of war,” General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno said on Saturday during a visit to the region in the vast desert mountain range of Tibesti.

He ordered “the launch of an all-out disarmament operation in the area”, according to the statement on Facebook.

Read more: Chad declares ‘food emergency’, urges international help

“All Chadians and foreigners (operating in the) Kouri Bougoudi gold mining site must leave by Sunday at the latest. A military camp will be set up… to prevent any infiltration”, he said.

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“I will not leave Kouri Bougoudi until my instructions are applied on the ground,” he added.

Kouri Bougoudi lies more than 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) from the Chadian capital N’Djamena. The Tibesti Mountains, a lawless frontier region in the heart of the Sahara, are a source of ethnic friction and a bolthole for armed groups.

The discovery of gold in the Tibesti 10 years ago sparked a rush of miners from across Chad and neighbouring countries. Many young Chadians from the impoverished centre of the country have headed there, often labouring in dangerous illegal mines.

According to Defense Minister General Daoud Yaya Brahim, the incident on May 23 was sparked by a “mundane argument between two people that devolved.”

Idriss Deby Itno, Chad’s 30-year ruler, was slain last year during an operation against insurgents in the north.

His son Mahamat, who led a 15-member military junta, ascended to the throne in his place.

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Read more: Lake Chad force says has killed 30 ‘terrorists’

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