On Tuesday morning Le Monde (Paris) reported, in an article translated below, that following a U.N. Security Council statement in support of the government of Chadian President Idriss Déby, French Minister of Foreign Affairs Bernard Kouchner said menacingly that France would it “not to have to intervene further.”[1]  --  A report from Thierry Oberlé, a reporter from Le Figaro (Paris) on the ground in N'Djamena, also translated below, said that for the moment the rebels, who say France's claims of neutrality are spurious, are believed to have withdrawn to resupply themselves from supply caches east of the capital.[2]  --  About half of France's expatriate population has fled.  --  Though the government is celebrating its "victory," the situation remains uncertain and tense....

1.

[Translated from Le Monde (Paris)]

News

Africa

CHAD: PARIS WARNS REBELS
By LeMonde.fr with AFP

Le Monde (Paris)
February 5, 2008 (updated 7:53 a.m. CET)

Original source: Le Monde (Paris)

Monday evening, Feb. 4, France addressed a direct warning to the rebels who have attempted to seize power in Chad when it declared, through the voice of Minister of Foreign Affairs Bernard Kouchner, that it hopes “not to have to intervene further” militarily. Mr. Kouchner was speaking shortly after the U.N. Security Council called on U.N. member states to support the government of President Idriss Déby.

“I hope that we won’t have to make use of it,” said Mr. Kouchner, interviewed during a press briefing about this statement. “We do hope not to have to intervene further. .&nbsp. . We do not intend to put French troops more on alert than they are or to undertake military operations.” But “when it was necessary to defend the [N’Djamena] airport, our forces did so very vigorously, and very effectively,” Mr. Kouchner emphasized. Rocket exchanges between French soldiers and rebels took place Saturday near the N’Djamena airport, from which several hundred foreigners have been evacuated, according to the French general staff.

A DESIRE TO PUT EUFOR IN PLACE QUICKLY

On Monday the U.N. Security Council, at France’s initiative, made clear its support for the government of Chadian Idriss Déby by condemning the attacks of rebel groups and by calling on all states to lend assistance to it. “The need was felt to express clearly that there were rebels who were attacking a legal government. That has been done,” said Mr. Kouchner with regard to the Security Council’s statement. In Paris, a military sources said that the statement did not yet have an “operational translation.”

France is maintaining more than a thousand troops and some fighter planes in Chad, where rebel groups with supply bases in Sudan last week launched an attack to overthrow Mr. Déby. For two days the rebels besieged the presidential palace in N’Djamena in fighting that caused many deaths and hundreds of casualties, before withdrawing from the capital on Sunday.

“President Idriss Déby has retaken control of the central part of the city without it being certain whether in the outlying districts the rebels who had entered the city are or are not still there," Mr. Kouchner said. He said he hoped that EUFOR would be put in place "in the days ahead." This European operation consists of the deployment of some 3,700 soldiers to eastern Chad and the Central African Republic to protect 450,000 refugees from Darfur (western Sudan) as well as displaced persons from Chad and the Central African Republic. The sending of this force was put on hold because of the fighting, but the Europeans have said that the operation is still on.

--
Translated by Mark K. Jensen
Associate Professor of French
Department of Languages and Literatures
Pacific Lutheran University
Tacoma, WA 98447-0003
Phone: 253-535-7219
Web page: http://www.plu.edu/~jensenmk/
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

2.

[Translated from Le Figaro (Paris)]

International

FRENCH ARMY CONSOLIDATES ITS BASE IN CHAD
By Thierry Oberlé

Le Figaro (Paris)
February 5, 2008 -- 7:08 a.m. CET

N'DJAMENA -- The rebles have been repulsed, but the N'Djamena airport, protected by French troops, remains a target.

The French Army Transall [a military transport aircraft with a payload capacity of 16 tons, about 80% of what a Lockheed C-130 Hercules can carry] has just landed on the tarmac of the N'Djamena airport. At the other end of the runway, a Chadian Mi-24 helicopter [a Soviet-built helicopter gunship] lands in its turn. Four in number, Idriss Déby's combat aircraft (two M-i24s and two Mi-17s) are taking turns pursuing marauding rebels east of the capital.

The mixed Franco-Chadian airfield is situated inside the perimeter of the base that since 1986 has sheltered the French "Épervier" operation's command. Military cooperation agreements join Paris and N'Djamena, but France is holding off from intervening directly in the conflict. It is furnishing information to the Chadian armed forces while remaining "neutral."

The insurgents question this account. They accuse French troops of influencing the outcome by allowing Chadian helicopters to take off. They blame them for supporting Idriss Déby's personal guard, whose men repelled assaults on the presidential palace on Sunday.

Put to flight, the attackers have left the urban area. But Monday morning they again threatened to attack the airport. This challenge was deemed unacceptable by Col. Paul Perié, commander of the "Épervier" operation. "Maintaining control of the airport is essential. We have put in place robust means to preserve the perimeter," he said. The colonel confirmed the "displacement" of ten-odd Mirage fighters and the fleet of Atlantic planes to Abéché and other African sanctuaries. "They are operational and sometimes come back," he confided.

Crowded, Base 172 is aboil. Stationed troops were reinforced by the arrival on Friday of two companies of paratroopers. Employees of the United Nations and refugees are scattered here and there inside the base, around buildings with anti-explosive barriers. In the city, a precarious calm reigns. Loyalist forces are holding the capital's key points, but the atmosphere is tense. French troops are protecting the French embassy, which is situated near the presidential palace. The diplomats are staying inside. The city's two largest hotels, as well as three rallying points for expatriates, are under French surveillance. Thousands of Chadian civilians have fled the capital for neighboring Cameroun

SPECTACULAR EXFILTRATION

The evacuation operation of foreigners to Libreville went on late into the night Sunday. It took a spectacular turn with the removal, during a heliported operations, of the personnel in the American and German embassy. The chancelleries were surrounded by violent clashes.

The transfer on the same day of French nationals from rallying points to the military base took place under fire. "Armored vehicles took rounds of automatic-weapons fire. There was also firing toward the airport, but these were stray bullets. Two soldiers were slightly wounded," said Col. Perié.

On Monday, the extraction of isolated French nationals continued. More than a thousand foreigners have left Chad, including half of the French community living in N'Djamena. Those who remain are hesitating, caught between hope for a return to normalcy and fear of a new flare-up. "We had some bad moments," says Alain Veau, 65 years old, 26 of them in Africa. "We came by way of the avenue Charles-de-Gaulle, N'Djamena's central artery; it was devastated. There were little groups looting calmly. A lot of houses have been visited," said Didier Tribaut, a Frenchman who was leaving.

All appearances are that the rebels dispersed to reequip themselves from caches with fuel and ammunition, about 50 kilometers from N'Djamena. The French Breguet planes [long-range reconnaissance aircraft] were said to have lost track of them. Are the insurgents up to launching a new offensive when they must be facing logistical difficulties? Do they have the means to gain the upper hand over Idriss Déby's personal guard, which enjoys the support of T-55 tanks and helicopters?

On Sunday evening, Déby's men celebrated their "victory." But in Chad nothing is ever for certain.

--
Translated by Mark K. Jensen
Associate Professor of French
Department of Languages and Literatures
Pacific Lutheran University
Tacoma, WA 98447-0003
Phone: 253-535-7219
Web page: http://www.plu.edu/~jensenmk/
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.