Chadian Intervention in Northern Mali

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Chadian Intervention in Mali
Part of the Northern Mali conflict
Northern Mali conflict.svg
Date January 2013 - ongoing
Location Northern Mali
Status

Indecisive

  • Chadian Forces planned withdrawal from Mali by April
Belligerents
 Chad AQIM
MUJAO
Commanders and leaders
Chad Idriss Déby Itno
Chad Mahamat Déby Itno
Chad Abdel Aziz Hassane Adam
Chad Omar Bikimo
Abdelhamid Abou Zeïd
Mokhtar Belmokhtar†(?)
Strength
2,250 men
240 vehicles
unknown
Casualties and losses
Chad 36 killed, 74 wounded[1] ~125 killed

On 18 January, the Republic of Chad announced its intent to deploy 2,000 troops: one infantry regiment with 1,200 soldiers and two support battalions with 800 soldiers, into Mali as part of the international campaign against Islamist insurgents. The Chadian forces were not part of the African-led International Support Mission to Mali but integrated into an existing French command structure. The same day the arrival of the Chadian army in Niamey was confirmed.[2]

Backed by technicals and Eland-90 armoured cars, Chadian forces entered Mali via Niger,[3] securing the former Islamist town of Ménaka on January 28.[4] According to a statement read by the French Ministry of Defense, Chadian forces left their base in Ménaka and headed towards the north of the country in support of Malian armed forces in the area.

On 31 January, some 1,800 Chadian soldiers succeeded in entering the city of Kidal without resistance, as French forces captured the outskirts of the city a few days prior to the formal capture. The Chadian army will help contribute to the security of the city, currently held by the MNLA.[5]

On 7 February, in the evening Chadian and French forces entered the town of Aguelhok.

On 8 February, French and Chadian forces announced they captured the town of Tessalit near the Algerian border, the seat of one of the last airports still held by insurgents.

On 12 February, according to numerous sources, a Chadian soldier succumbed to an illness, marking the first death since the Chadian intervention began in late January.

On 22 February, supported by French fighters, the Chadian army launched a joint military operation with the support of French war jets on an Islamists base said to be of "significant importance", where 8 French hostages were believed to be held along with caches of heavy weaponry, artillery shells, anti-tank weapons, and mines were said to be hidden in the mountains of the Adrar des Ifoghas. By the end of the day, the mission was considered to be a success with 93 Islamists killed or captured, but unfortunately leaving 26 Chadian soldiers dead and 52 others severely wounded, the dead included several high ranking Chadian commanders in Mali, including special forces commander Abdel Aziz Hassane Adam.[6]

On 25 February, during a joint military operation in the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains, Chadian forces reported to have killed feared al-Qaeda right hand leader of AQIM, Abou Zeïd along with 40 of his followers. It's unknown whether he was killed by French airstrikes or by Chadian ground forces, as the information was neither confirmed nor denied by the French Government.[7]

On 1 March, a few days after the death of Abou Zeïd, the Chadian army claimed to have killed Mokhtar Belmokhtar. According to a government statement it indicated that Mokhtar along with several other extremists were killed, plus weapons, equipment, and 40 vehicles being seized. In April, the Chadian government dismissed their previous claim of killing Mokhtar, saying he blew himself up along with several other militants, in despair after learning about the death of Abou Zeïd.[8]

On 12 March, a Chadian soldier was killed in a skirmish along with six Islamists, according to military officials.

On 12 April, a suicide bomber detonated his explosive belts, while a group of Chadian soldiers were passing by, in a busy market in Kidal, killing four soldiers and the bomber in the blast, that also injured five civilians.[9]

On 14 April, Chadian president Idriss Déby Itno announced the full withdrawal of Chadian soldiers from Mali, citing face to face with the Islamists is over and the Chadian army doesn't have the skills to fight a guerilla-style war, referring to the previous attack in Kidal that killed four of its soldiers. According to local sources the army has already withdrawn a mechanized battalion a few days prior to the formal announcement and pulled out its troops from Aguelhok and Tessalit.[10]

On 15 April, the Chadian parliament voted overwhelmingly for a resolution for the withdrawal of Chadian forces in Mali, "within a reasonable timeframe". The same day the Chadian army announced that it lost 36 soldiers during the three-month intervention in Northern Mali, and suffered another 74 wounded. In total the presence of Chadian soldiers in Mali costs the country 57 billion CFA francs (87 million). During the intervention, in all at least 2,250 soldiers were deployed, with 250 vehicles and a heavy amount of supplies.[11]

On 17 April, tension grew between the separatists Tuareg group MNLA and the Chadian army stationed in Kidal. According to local sources, the MNLA accuses the Chadian army of planning to allow Malian forces to be deployed to the city and firing on unarmed civilians during demonstrations against Chadian military rule.[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.lignesdedefense.blogs.ouest-france.fr/archive/2013/04/15/I.html[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ "allAfrica.com: Mali: Chadian Soldiers Join Battle for Northern Mali". allAfrica.com. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  3. ^ "Mali’s neighbors take steps to keep al Qaida militants from escaping". Archived from the original on 28 January 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  4. ^ "Opération Serval: Point de situation du 29 janvier 2013". Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  5. ^ "BBC News - Mali conflict: Chad army 'enters Kidal'". BBC News. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  6. ^ "Nord Mali :: Toute l'actualité du Nord Mali". Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  7. ^ "Abdelhamid Abu Zeid, Al Qaeda Commander, Reportedly Killed In Mali". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  8. ^ "BBC News - Islamist militant Mokhtar Belmokhtar 'killed in Mali'". BBC News. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  9. ^ "BBC News - Mali conflict: Chadians killed in Kidal suicide attack". BBC News. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  10. ^ "BBC News - Mali crisis: Chad's Idriss Deby announces troop pullout". BBC News. Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  11. ^ "Nord Mali :: Toute l'actualité du Nord Mali". Retrieved 16 November 2014. 
  12. ^ "Chadian soldiers in northern Mali in tension with MNLA rebels". Archived from the original on 29 November 2014. Retrieved 16 November 2014.