Overview: In 2021, Chadian President Déby was killed during a battlefield engagement with rebels; the Transitional Military Council that assumed control after the longtime president’s death has maintained Chad’s prior commitments to regional counterterrorism efforts. Chad has experienced persistent terrorist threats in the border areas near population centers surrounding Lake Chad but suffered only two attacks against military and civilian targets in 2021, both in the Lake Chad region.
Security forces and basic government services remained under resourced, which limited the Chadian government’s ability to address all security concerns, but Chadian armed forces led missions within the Sahel to contribute to regional security. Chad maintained a strong commitment to fight terrorists: deploying soldiers to Mali to support the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), supporting the Lake Chad region’s MNJTF, and committing forces to the G-5 Sahel Joint Force.
Chad continued to host the French Task Force Barkhane, France’s CT mission to the Sahel. The United States has historically been the largest direct supporter of capacity building for Chadian security forces and has benefited from Chad’s contributions to regional security and the counterterrorism efforts that this support has enabled.
2021 Terrorist Incidents: BH and ISIS-WA continued attacks around the eastern and northern shores of Lake Chad:
- On August 5, BH assailants killed 26 Chadian soldiers and wounded 14 others while on patrol near Tchoukoutalia before the Chadian army repulsed the attackers. • A September attack by BH on Kadjigoroum in the Lake Chad region 20 kilometers from Baga Sola killed nine civilians before assailants set the village on fire.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: Chad’s Special Anti-Terrorism Group Division is the primary military force deployed to fight terrorism in Lake Chad Basin and across the Sahel. The Director General of National Police remained supportive of U.S. CT efforts.
The National Police selected a group of law enforcement officers from multiple agencies to form a new CT investigation unit specifically designed to operate in the Lake Chad region. The program has been restarted after impacts from COVID-19, and the National Police increased the size of the unit.
Securing borders remains challenging. Porous borders, particularly across Lake Chad, provide easy passage for terrorists and criminal entities. Border security remained a shared task of the Gendarmes, Army, Customs, and the National and Nomadic Guard (GNNT), none of which is resourced sufficiently.
In November, the government announced amnesty for 296 Chadian rebels and opposition members charged with a range of infractions, including “crimes of opinion, terrorism, and threats to the integrity of the state,” as a confidence-building measure preceding government negotiations with rebel groups (known as political-military groups in Chadian political vocabulary).
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Chad’s Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU), the National Agency for Financial Investigation (ANIF), is a member of the Egmont Group. ANIF requested Antiterrorism Assistance (yet unallocated) for training new analysts to combat financial crime and antiterrorism financing. Chad is a member of the Task Force on Money Laundering in Central Africa.
Countering Violent Extremism: Chad actively opposed violent extremism. The High Council of Islamic Affairs promoted peaceful coexistence and tolerance, and diverse faith groups utilized the Interfaith Dialogue Commission to engage in mitigating conflict. The national coordination
office for the G-5 Sahel maintained its radicalization prevention unit, stood up in 2020, which initiates coordination meetings of CVE practitioners.
International and Regional Cooperation: Chad engaged actively in the following CT organizations:
- G-5 Sahel
- Lake Chad Basin Commission
Surrounded by conflict, Chad is a leader in exporting security forces to contribute to regional stability in the Sahel. Chad contributed 1,425 soldiers to Mali as part of MINUSMA; 2,000 soldiers in support of the MNJTF; and 650 soldiers in northern Chad as part of the G-5 Sahel Joint Force East Zone Headquarters. Chad also deployed 1,200 soldiers to the Liptako-Gourma tri-border region between Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger as part of the G-5 Sahel Joint Force.
Chad also supports the Chad-Sudan Mixed Force by contributing 600 soldiers as part of the joint border security effort with Sudan. In December, the Government of Chad announced its desire to increase the Chadian MINUSMA contingent by an additional 1,000 Chadian Peacekeepers, and this request is still pending review and approval from the United Nations Security Council. While this proposal still awaits implementation, it underscores the importance that Chad places on contributing to regional security.
N’Djamena hosts the headquarters of the five-nation (Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria) MNJTF, which was formed to counter the threat posed by ISIS-WA, al-Qa’ida, and BH in the Lake Chad region. N’Djamena also hosts France’s largest operational military deployment in the world, Task Force Barkhane, which provides French military planners with a strategic command position while it reevaluates the array of French forces throughout the Sahel.
Chad has received security resource support from China, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Türkiye, and the European Union in the past, and continued resource shortfalls are forcing Chad to reassess its need for military capabilities to address encroaching security challenges.