By David Lewis
Sun Apr 14, 2013(Reuters)

Chad will withdraw its troops from Mali where they risk being bogged down in
guerrilla war after helping to drive Islamists from northern towns,President Idriss Deby said in comments broadcast on Sunday.

His words came days after a suicide
bomber killed three Chadian troops in the northern town of Kidal,demonstrating how al Qaeda-linked Islamists are still able to strike in the heavily-defended towns they once controlled. Some 2,000 Chadians have fought alongside French troops in the heaviest fighting to drive Islamists from remote northern towns, mountains and deserts they previously occupied.

“Face-to-face fighting with the Islamists
is over. The Chadian army does not have
the skills to fight a shadowy, guerrilla-
style war that is taking place in northern
Mali,” Deby told French media, including
TV5 Monde, RFI and Le Monde. “Our soldiers will return to Chad. They have accomplished their mission. We have already withdrawn a mechanised battalion,” he added in the interview.

Deby said Chadian troops, selected to
accompany the French as they are among the region’s best, would be available for an eventual 10,000-strong United Nations force to be deployed once combat operations wind down.Only last month, and citing an earlier suicide attack, Chad’s foreign minister warned France and African allies against hastily withdrawing troops from Mali even
though much of the country had been
cleared of rebels.

Chadian and French forces have spent
weeks scouring valleys in the Adrar des
Ifoghas mountain range, once seen as
impenetrable bases for al Qaeda’s North
African wing, which last year seized Mali’s north alongside other Islamists.Chad has suffered the highest number of
casualties in the fighting having lost
about 30 soldiers.

Underscoring the nervousness of troops in liberated towns, residents and officials of Kidal said Chadian soldiers on Sunday fired shots into the air and at
unidentified gunmen. The Chadians appeared to be trying to secure parts of the town, which is still occupied by separatist Tuareg rebels who moved in when the Islamists fled the French advance.

France launched its offensive in Mali in January warning Islamists could use it as a launchpad for terrorist attacks.Several high-level Islamist leaders have
been killed during the operations but the troops have not yet found any of seven French hostages that were believed to be being held there. Deby said he believed the hostages were still alive but he was not sure if they were
still in northern Mali.

France has started withdrawing its force, currently around 4,000 men, and plans to have just 1,000 by the end of the year. Diplomats say these troops might make up a rapid reaction force that will operate alongside U.N. peacekeepers and be tasked with tackling remaining pockets of extremists. Mali is due elections in July but experts warn of problems from insecurity,hundreds of thousands of people still living in refugee camps and a stalled political process.


About beegeagle

BEEG EAGLE -perspectives of an opinionated Nigerian male with a keen interest in Geopolitics, Defence and Strategic Studies
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  1. duduboi says:

    Gradually the brunt of this insurgency is going to be borne by Nigerian troops when all other countries start pulling out in the face of the guerrilla warfare being waged by the insurgents.

  2. beegeagle says:

    I am sure that Nigeria and Niger shall stand with the Malians all the way. All hope is not lost.

    The Chadians still have a role to play since these zealots shall always flee into the desert.

    AFISMA should anchor their deployment thus

    – manpower focus..MALI
    – desert operations..Mali, Niger and Chad
    – urban+CTCOIN operations..Nigeria

    Perhaps the main body of Chadian troops can be pulled back to the Segou-Mopti area as a reserve force in case there arises the need for intensive desert operations. That ‘reserve’ mode is what France are about switching to.

    The USA should intensify desert warfare training for Niger, just in case the Chadians leave the theatre altogether

    Nigeria need to raise her troop strength to 1,500 troops and bring in three 150-man MOPOL FPUs. I have said this thing about the FPUs from the very beginning and the FG indeed indicated a while later that a Formed Police Unit would be deployed to Mali.

    It would be desirable to have a 300-man Nigerian battle group and a 150-man FPU(including a mixed 10-man squad of anti-bomb technicians and K9 teamsters) deployed to each of GAO, KIDAL and TIMBUKTU. They have a deep reservoir of PRACTICAL knowhow – raids, house clearing, IED handling, ambush defeat to bring to the front and even their colleagues in AFISMA know this.

    For each of these towns, would be backed up by 350 Malian troops+200 Malian gendarmes,200 Nigerien troops,200 Senegalese troops and 100 Chadian troops. That would allow some of the troops who are less experienced in urban brawls to learn sitting-by-Nellie sans the pressure of having the operations anchored around them as would be the case for the seasoned Nigerians and the Malians who have no choice but to fight for THEIR COUNTRY.

    The Malians and French can, on a bilateral basis, continue air strikes on the remaining conventional assets of the guerrillas, namely ‘technicals’. That would continually erode the capacity of the zealots to pose a threat while the numbers and composition of the troops in the principal towns of the North are enough to beat back any invasion.

    Perhaps Chad plunged in at the deep end in Kidal, savvy in the ways of the desert and able to navigate like camels BUT possessing a near-zero awareness of the antics of suicide attackers and urban guerrillas

  3. agee says:

    Looks like its going to be nigerias battle. Where are those people that were talking about our inabibility to go into mali? What was chad thinking was going to happen in mali sef? Babysitting?

    • CHYDE says:

      Just to think that Chad was considered to have ‘EMERGED’ as the regional power. With respect to the Chadians this Mali expedition wasn’t going to be child’s play (I respect them). Clearly we will need to deploy in addition to our troops, better air power. I just wonder what is going on at the MoD as well as the presidency. This is definitely Nigeria’s battle once again.

  4. beegeagle says:


    ” Afua Hirsch would never deserve any apologies. She deliberately distorted the facts. The ill-prepared Nigerians made the most orderly and dignified entry into Mali – ahead of her own country’s troops. So she can stuff her broadsides..and stuff them twice. Some other people think differently.

    This is still officially the French intervention, launched from Chad and CIV. Ab initio, the plan was to use the Chadians expressly for their desert warfare savvy which exceeds even what the French know. They bore the expense for the airlift of the Chadians into Niamey.

    So in their northward advance from Mopti through Gao and on to Kidal, the French kept to the roads while the Chadians crossed overland through the desert into Kidal. That was never going to be Nigeria’s bit to do.

    Nigeria’s main role was always going to be the asymmetric IED, ambush, VBIED, suicide attack beat. How much of that has happened so far in Mali?

    In February, Mali recorded her first-ever suicide attack in the Gao metropolis.Only the bomber died. Before then, there was a roadside attack. After that, 20 rebels occupied the Town Hall for two days and that precipitated a battle. Mind you, Gao is a small town of 40,000 persons even as it is the biggest in North Mali.

    Then, there was a suicide attack last month at Timbuktu and this week, 3 Chadians died in a roadside IED blast in Kidal. That is all that is noteworthy as far as the post-conventional warfare phase is concerned.

    Compared to that, find out how many IED and suicide attacks our security forces endure at home in one week? Larg scale attacks which shut down metropolises which are demographically, 100 times larger than Gao? Maiduguri has over a million residents while Kano is five times that and is e asily the biggest city in Sahelian Africa between Senegal and Kordofan. Those cities are manned by Nigerian troops – not French or American troops.

    What – suicide attacks, VBIEDs, ambushes, sieges on polcie stations which takes place in Nigeria as of now has a parallel for intensity or regularity as far as urban and/or asymmetric warfare goes in Mali? Get to google and come back for comparative study if you will.

    The force at Banamba is deployed there in interposition lest a flanking maneouvre creeps up behind the French and strike at the capital. Banamba was the furthest point reached by the rebels sneak attack which drew in the French.

    We arrived in Mali in our own C130 and G222, gathered intel by our own satellite and Alenia spy planes, with our own home-made NVGs, flak jackets and GPMGs. We come to the Malian board with the most experience in urban and CT operations, complete with combat engineers and K9 squads.

    So let us not overblow the brewing or ebbing storm in Mali. We raid terrorists’ lairs,evade VBIEDs and roadside IEDs,thwart ambushes, endure suicide attacks and get into gun battles everyday in Nigeria. As of today, the urban warfare in Mali is nowhere as intense.

    Flip through our archives and be sure. “

    • eyimola says:

      Chad has done what they needed to do. To all intents and purposes, They ARE now the regional military power. What is the point of wasting Nigerian lives in a conflict that they will NEVER be given credit for? All the glory that has to be won in Mali has been distributed between France and their Chadian allies. Even if things go sour in Mali over the next couple of months (as we all suspect in will), it will be blamed on AFISMA. We need to withdraw our troops fast, so they can focus on more pressing matters

  5. freeegulf says:

    who is footing the bills for the Chadians? peace enforcement is not cheap nor combat missions. they should try and keep the Chadian contingents even if it means deployment in less combat strained region.
    Nigeria needs to show leadership. for goodness sake, this is our turf. we are not talking of Somalia or DRC, this is west Africa!!!
    it is bad that we refuse to show up in Somalia (in strength!) and we re not bothered with the DRC crisis, but acting as a refusenik or being complacent with the war in Mali will not help our cause. and our useless leaders are campaigning for UNSC membership, i wonder how this foreign policy shortsightedness will help their cheer leading onslaught

    • beegeagle says:

      Generalissimo Freeegulf, when classified files get opened up for scrutiny, you shall find that Chad’s involvement was financed start to finish by France. They have played their role commendably and are now out of their depths.

      It should alarm anyone that they are quitting at the same time as their minders. This could be a gambit to secure guarantees of financing from the UN and AU. The UPDF used to occasionally throw the dice in like manner in Mogadishu, even if I never quite fell for the bluff 🙂

      At any rate, you really cannot become a credible regional power if you cannot at the very least pay your way, finance your ambitions or you quit at the slightest whiff of a setback.

      Nigerian ECOMOG troops propelled themselves into reckoning by bravely learning urban warfare (they were novices in the art at that time) right at the frontlines in Monrovia and Freetown and Nigeria did finance sister ECOMOG contingents to boot.

      So Chad would have impressed nobody but themselves if they choose to blow it at this auspicious moment. It is also not in doubt that France are shying away from the gruelling asymmetric phase of operations which lies ahead.

      As these things go, anybody who stays in there and claims any number of scalps shall turn out to be the real hero at the end of the war.

      • freeegulf says:

        my marshal, u re on point! excellent post!!
        like u said, the french definitely had their wallet dangling in front of the Chadians even before the start of the intervention.
        the french withdrawal might be perceived as trying to avoid mission creep, and trying not to agitate the french public with casualty report. however, we all know is all BS. what they are trying to do by withdrawing, is to leave the afghan like scenario to AFISMA.

        we all know that the counter insurgency phase is the hardest part of the war. France came in, gun blazing, and blitz the islamists, fine job, but it is the fancy part that they just executed. the hard tough part has just started, and they are packing their bags to leave. how cunning.
        France will station a garrison force of 1000. The strenuous part has been dropped right on the lap of west African troops, and we fell for it. sad. when did Nigeria start running after french whistle.

        in the late ’90s, the president of Guinea Bissau was extremely critical of Ecomog missions. he was all over the place, disrespecting sani abacha. well, it soon became his turn, and he came asking for help. in fact, even after he was promised a west African intervention force by France, he kept stressing that this force must include, if possible be led by Nigerians. he knew that with the absent of the Nigerian contingent, his regime would not hold. and it was exactly what happened. France helped put together a west African force, a form of francophone Ecomog. and they failed woefully!!

        going to Mali was the right call, but we should do things on our own terms and not let France dictate for us. we are not in the sphere of influence of these European powers and we should get as much advantage from this Mali ops as we possibly can.
        bringing in the UN will only make things worse. complete waste of money. preferably, the money meant for UN PKO in Mali should go into financing a stronger AFISMA force and equipping the Malian army.

  6. ozed says:

    Na wa o! where have all the soldiers gone? Chad takes 30 casualties and calls it a day. South Africa takes about 60 casualties in CAR and beats a hasty retreat.

    And yet we get no credit for the hard slogs we put in in Sierra Leone and Liberia. This world no fair o!

  7. beegeagle says:

    Ozed, there are those who try to be truthful and give credit where it is due



    ” In recent years a Nigerian-led intervention force prevented the RUF from taking control of the country, but last year, with the Nigerians wearying of the expense and bloodshed, the U.N. brokered a peace accord under which the RUF was given a share of power and an amnesty for crimes it committed during its reign of terror.

    The Nigerian force was replaced by thousands of U.N. soldiers, who turned out to be the Keystone Cops of peacekeeping. Most of the U.N. soldiers arrived in Sierra Leone with little weaponry, unreliable communications gear, and scant awareness of the nastiness that awaited them. When they tried to take control of the RUF’s diamond-mining areas, the RUF attacked, seizing hundreds of U.N. hostages.

    With the battle-hardened Nigerians gone, the RUF sensed an opportunity to commandeer the entire country. It was May, and the war was on again.”

    end of quote


    ” It turned out that the arms themselves
    never actually got to the pro-Kabbah
    forces: they were impounded by Nigerian troops, who must be credited – along with the pro-government Kamajor militia fighters – for unseating the AFRC and restoring democracy to Sierra Leone.”

    end of quote

    “Nigerians,besides being perhaps the most effective contingent, were also long-time hosts in Sierra Leone as part of ECOMOG forces”

    Raffaele Ciriello, wartime photo journalist in Sierra Leone

  8. jimmy says:

    I really don’t have time to go into details because of pressing work
    “At any rate, you really cannot become a credible regional power if you cannot at the very least pay your way or finance your ambitions or you quit at the slightest setback”These are Gen BEEG’S QUOTES, I will go even further NO COUNTRY can even lay claim to what i call A NEIGHBORHOOD POWER ( A Country that shares borders with two or three other countries) let alone a regional power if that country In the grimmest sense cannot sustain casualties,or even if in the sense of a long intense bloody no holds barred urban conflict . to start withdrawing.followed by hypocrisy filled parliamentary inquires when they tend to be the same people hanging to the purse strings.
    OGA DOZIEX .Please hold your gunpowder and your fervent hope South Africa. OGA GT8 said it best last week ” what did they expect to meet people with cutlass and bow and arrow? The m23 when it suit their commanders can roll out of bed at 6a.m in the morning in ( Rwanda) and by noon time they will be in GOMA with everybody PANICKING. I do not pussyfoot about Nigeria’s shortcoming and i am resolved not to pussyfoot about S/ Africa’s either .they had better bring the real heavy duty stuff to THE CONGO or do everybody in Africa and stay home because this is not a cheap- peacekeeping -money-grabbing -operation. This is a very dangerous place to be for naive soldiers.

    • doziex says:

      Oga Jimmy, you funny o, Okay I go hold my gunpowder.

      South africa and nigeria seems to have opposite problems. SANDF invested big in weapons and hardware, to the tune of 6 billion usd.
      But training standards have plummeted, as the likes of COL Eeben have exited for greener pastures.
      Case in point, a ex russian soldier wrote an article on this problem. He was at an arms expo in south africa where there artillery men were showcasing the prowess of the G6 gun.
      The target was a car some miles away. The soldiers, couldn’t program the G6’s trajectory controlling computer. So, they decided to aim the gun manually, and after several attempts, the target car remained unscathed.

      Nigeria, on the other hand has invested in retraining soldiers, new kits etc. But have refused to strategically rearm the force.
      When, the UPDF is going for T-90s, and the KDF is launching MI-28s, NA is being starved by nigeria’s perenial poor (no vision) leadership.

      As for chad, what ever their current problems are, NA should have never allowed them and france to upstage us.
      NA is yet to learn, that in combat, the propaganda matters even more than the actual fighting. So, be ready to engage in both.

  9. peccavi says:

    Chad has done its duty and they did very well by all standards, they took the fight to the enemy and emerged on top. However it would have been better if they had just declared ‘Mission Accomplished’ and pulled out, this announcement that they are not ready for that type of warfare is just going to boost enemy morale and push them to focus on soft targets. Personally I wish they and the French stay to take the brunt of this

  10. Spirit says:

    Oga Beeg, whatever reasons Chad may give, threy have dissappointed me.

    For Christ sake, this Africa, not Europe! We are fighting not for Mali survival, but for the survival of the entire West African sub region.The small fire that is burning in Mali today, (if not quickly extinguished) might become a great conflagration that will consume us all.

    Trading places, if Chad was the one expering insurgency, would she be happy if neighbouring countries start withdrawing their toops after taking 3 casualties?

    France may withdraw, USA may remain aloft and refuse to put boots on the ground, but ARICAN MUST STAND SHOULDERS TO TOUGH SOLDERS AGAINST THESE FANATICS because this is our house that is burning!

    Beeg, you even said it that the NA had zero experience prior to Liberia/S-Leone, but see where we are today wrt COIN/CQC/Urban warfare and all manners of Special operations.

    Experience is still the best teacher. If the Chadians think they can learn everything about COIN on the French issued laptops in classrooms, they need to think again. They had better standfast with Nigeria troops and learn the nitty gritty of CQC and Urban warfare from the guys who have been doing it non-stop for 3 years running.

    It is Nigeria/Mali today, it may be Chad tommorrow.

  11. beegeagle says:

    Indeed, Spirit.

    If Chad think about the fact that like them, Libya are two republics distant from Mali and then take into congnisance how profoundly the Libyan War has contributed to the unfolding events in northern Mali, they would not be so aloof about this.

    To be sure, uprooted rebels from northern Mali have been spotted as far away as Darfur and ou have to cross all of Chad – west to east – to get into Darfur. Moreover and as these things go, there are jihadis, trainees and mercenaries alike from Algeria, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Libya and Chad active inside Mali at this time. If they do not see any implications for Chadian national security in all of that, they might realise the salient issues entailed at a time when it would have become too late to turn back the hands of the clock.

  12. Bigbrovar says:

    There is no need to over read thing. Idriss Deby is Frances wag Dog in Africa.. He was called upon by his master to perform a duty and he has. If Chad wanted to help he would have been part of AFISMA but rather they allied with the French to form the arrow head of the latter’s offensive in Mali.. Now that France is going they are taking with them their Dog.. This has nothing to do with no having the skill to fight a Guerrilla war.

    The situation in Mali does look bleak though.. On the political front there don’t seem to have been much progress as the politician in Bamako seem to have squandered an opportunity to create an all inclusive government and address some of the kernel point of the crisis.
    The Malian military still lack basic discipline and willingness to respect constituted authority.. or even stand and fight expecting others to do their bidding… the Tuareg rebellion has not been addressed.. and Nigeria led AFISMA seems to be has lack luster as best. Nigeria from all indication seem to lack the political will to lead this operation or sustain casualties (its election time is knocking and last thing GEJ needs is our troops getting killed in a foreign war.. another stick for people like *ex minister you know who* to beat him with).
    On many front I do not see Mali ending well unless some of these factors change for good.

  13. beegeagle says:



    Ousted from their major northern strongholds by a French-led military intervention and all but defeated in their mountain hideouts,Mali’s Islamist militants are beginning to regroup at home and abroad.

    French and African soldiers have
    inflicted heavy losses since launching a
    military operation on January 11 to
    block the advance of al Qaeda-linked
    insurgents on the capital Bamako,with Paris claiming to have killed 400 rebels.

    But dozens have fled Mali over the
    mountains of northern Niger and Chad, passing into southern Libya and western Sudan, where they are reorganising, military sources told AFP, while others are recuperating in Algeria.

    “Some Islamists left the Malian territory to seek refuge elsewhere,” an African serviceman told AFP. He said members of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (Mujao), one of three Islamist militias which occupied northern Mali last year,had gone into the Algerian camps of the Polisario Front, a rebel movement demanding the end of Moroccan control in the disputed territory of Western Sahara.

    “Recently, when the highest UN
    authorities have expressed their concern and called for urgent settlement of the Western Sahara problem, it is because of the risk of terrorists turning the refugee camps into a new home for jihadists”, the African soldier said.

    The United Nations Secretary-General
    Ban Ki-moon said in a report to the
    Security Council in early April that
    governments in the region had “raised
    serious concerns about the risk that the fighting in Mali could have an impact in neighbouring countries and in helping to radicalise the refugee camps of the Western Sahara” which he described as “a ticking time bomb”.

    Ousmane Maiga, of the “Youth Co-ordination Association” in Gao, Mali’s
    largest northern city, said small groups
    of Islamists had headed not just into
    Algeria but also into Mali’s neighbours
    Niger and Mauritania. “Now the fear is that we will see them coming back into northern Mali to take up arms again,” he said.

    Face-to-face war

    But not all members of Mujao and the
    two other main armed Islamist groups
    in Mali, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim) and Ansar Dine(Defenders of the Faith), have fled abroad. “The enemy is still on the ground,” said a member of the general staff of the Malian army, pointing to suicide bombings in the cities of Gao,Timbuktu and Kidal as well as the lengthy engagement of Islamist fighters by French and Chadian troops
    in the northeastern Ifoghas mountains.

    Many of the militants have abandoned
    their weapons to enable them to move
    more easily, but have an efficient supply chain which could resupply them at a moment’s notice, a Malian colonel told AFP. After the death of one of its main
    leaders, Abu Zeid, in the Ifoghas, Aqim is trying to regain control in north-western Mali “under the leadership of the Algerian Abu Yeyia Hamame, chief of Aqim in the Sahara and northern Mali”, according to a confidential military document seen by AFP.

    The document goes on to say that a
    Malian ethnic Touareg named Abdelkrim Taleb has organised a “resistance” in the north-east, around Gao and Kidal. Regional security and military sources
    interviewed by AFP described the French army as “the backbone of security in northern Mali” but France has begun a phased withdrawal of its 4 000 soldiers, with all but 1 000 expected to have left by the end of the year.

    Chadian President Idriss Deby, who sent 2 000 troops to Mali, announced on Sunday that the country’s forces would be staging their own withdrawal ahead of schedule. “The face-to-face war with jihadists is finished. The Chadian army has no real competence to cope with a nebula. Chadian soldiers will return to Chad. They have completed their mission,”he said, without giving specifics.

    According to military and security sources, “it is feared that Islamists have set foot back in these areas to give new impetus to their terrorist actions”.


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