1. Chadian activist jailed for saying president is ill

    Guy Bandolo

    BBC News

    Idriss Déby
    Image caption: Baradine Berdei Targuio said on a Facebook post that Chad's president Idriss Déby, pictured, was ill

    A Chadian court has sentenced an activist to three years in jail for writing that the country's president was seriously ill and being treated in France.

    The head of the Chadian Organisation of Human Rights Baradine Berdei Targuio was arrested in January 2020 after publishing the Facebook post about President Idriss Déby.

    The Criminal Court in the capital N'Djamena found him guilty of "attacking the constitutional order".

    Mr Déby's political opponent Saleh Kebzabo denounced the sentencing as "an unjustified and anachronistic political sanction" and called for his release.

    Mr Déby is standing for a sixth term as president in April.

    Last week, the Chadian government issued a new ban on anti-government protests ahead of the presidential election, citing a risk that they could trigger disturbances to public order.

    During his 30 years in power, Mr Déby has been accused of authoritarianism and nepotism as well as failing to address the poverty that afflicts many of Chad's 13 million people.

    Despite oil wealth, the country ranks 187th out of 189 in the UN's Human Development Index.

  2. France commits to Sahel operation

    Will Ross

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    President Emmanuel Macron says France has no immediate plans to reduce the number of troops deployed in West Africa's Sahel region to counter the threat from Islamist militants.

    He was speaking to leaders of a regional security summit via a video link.

    More than 5,000 French troops are based in the region working alongside soldiers from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

    The French military operation has been in west Africa for eight years, is very expensive and has seen 55 soldiers killed.

    It seems Emmanuel Macron would like an exit strategy but he’s just ruled out a large troop withdrawal - at least for the next few months.

    The French president talked of imminent success and even used phrases like "consolidating military victory".

    But given that the jihadist attacks are spreading there's little room for optimism.

    Mr Macron shared a video on Twitter highlighting the joint operation between French and West African forces.

    View more on twitter

    The armies of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger do not control all their territory.

    The Islamist militants are able to exploit local grievances and are relatively free to roam across borders to carry out their attacks.

    Read more:

  3. Chad to deploy troops to tackle jihadists on borders

    A French soldier in the Sahel region
    Image caption: France has 5,100 troops in the Sahel region

    Chad's President Idriss Déby has said he will deploy soldiers to the border with Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso as G5 Sahel countries meet to discuss security in the region.

    Chad has in the past said it would deploy soldiers in the "three border zone" but did not.

    The Sahel region heads of state are meeting in Chad's capital, N'Djamena, and French President Emmanuel Macron will join the meeting via video link.

    President Déby has called for more international support to the Sahel countries in their fight against extremists.

    He said poverty in the region had made it easier for young people to be recruited by extremists and said development funds would help alleviate it.

    France has 5,100 troops in the Sahel region which has been a frontline in the war against Islamist militancy for almost a decade.

    Militants from the Group to Support Islam and Muslims (GSIM), which is linked to al-Qaeda, have been carrying out attacks.

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  4. Chad calls for more international funds for Sahel

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Chad has called on foreign powers to urgently increase funds for the development of the Sahel.

    Speaking at a summit on Islamist violence in the region, the Chadian President Idriss Deby said combatting poverty would help defeat militancy.

    The French President Emmanuel Macron is attending the meeting via video link.

    France last year boosted its deployment in the Sahel to more than 5,000 troops.

    But the deaths of dozens of French soldiers have increased domestic pressure for them to come home.

    French and other international troops, plus a large regional force, have been unable to contain the insurgency.

  5. Summit to mull reducing French troops in Sahel

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Leaders of countries affected by jihadist violence in the Sahel are meeting to discuss the insurgency and a possible drawdown of French forces in the region.

    President Emmanuel Macron is appearing via video link at the summit in the Chadian capital, Ndjamena.

    France last year boosted its deployment in the Sahel to more than 5,000 troops.

    But the deaths of dozens of French soldiers have increased domestic pressure for them to come home.

    French and other international troops, plus a large regional force, have been unable to contain the insurgency.

    Emmanuel Macron with Ex-Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Burkina Faso's President Roch Marc Christian Kabore, Niger's President Mahamadou Issoufou, Mauritania's President Mohamed Ould Cheikh El Ghazouani, Chad's President Idriss Deby
    Image caption: Former colonial power France hosted last year's meeting with G5 leaders in Pau
  6. US embassy kicks out Chad politician

    Killian Ngala

    BBC News

    The US Embassy in Chad has asked opposition leader Succès Masra to leave its grounds.

    The leader of the Transformers Party sought refuge at the US Embassy on 6 February along with 10 of the party’s top staff, as government forces sought to arrest them for staging what they say was a peaceful protest.

    They were protesting against President Idriss Déby’s attempt at a sixth term in office.

    The US Embassy now says it has been assured by the Chadian government that Mr Masra won't be arrested if he leaves the embassy premises.

  7. Two million forced from homes in Sahel violence - UN

    Women sit outside their shelter, in camp for internally displaced people in Barsalogho, in Burkina Faso -  January 2020 -
    Image caption: Barsalogho, a small town in Burkina Faso, is hosting thousands of people who have fled their homes

    The UN refugee agency says more than two million people have been displaced within their own countries by what it called the unrelenting violence in the Sahel region in Africa.

    The UNHCR said this was the highest number ever, and warned that the communities hosting the refugees in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Niger were at breaking point.

    The four countries are among the least developed in the world.

    The Sahel region is plagued by intercommunal violence and a series of conflicts involving Islamist groups.

    The UNHCR said the situation was made worse by food insecurity, climate change, and the coronavirus pandemic.

  8. Public workers in Chad go on strike

    Killian Ngala

    BBC News

    Civil servants in Chad began a nationwide strike on Monday to press for the restoration of their salaries which were cut four years ago, as well as the payment of various allowances.

    The decision to go on strike was taken in the capital, N’Djamena, during a meeting that brought together the four largest trade unions in the country.

    It follows the breakdown in negotiations with the government.

    Trade union spokesperson Michel Bakar told the BBC that the strike will run for three days, with members providing minimum services in hospitals.

    He said workers will stay at home, but could eventually take to the streets if their grievances are not addressed.

    Mr Bakar accused the government of failing to live up to its promises.

  9. 'Boat explosion kills four' in Chad


    Four soldiers in south-west Chad were killed and dozens injured in an explosion on a boat thought to have been caused by an improvised bomb, Reuters news agency reports.

    "The explosive device was placed at the bottom of the boat... We are trying to find out if this is a new technique of Boko Haram, Baga Sola district administrator Dimoya Souapebe is quoted as saying.

    Reuters adds that Mr Souapebe said the explosion happened on Tuesday night near Ngouboua, around 25km (15 miles) from the Nigerian border.

    The Boko Haram insurgency began in north-eastern Nigeria more than a decade ago - and the violence has spread to neighbouring countries, killing more than 30,000 people and forcing two million from their homes, according to the UN.

    Read more: Who are Boko Haram?

  10. Congolese activist fined for stealing African artefact

    Quai Branly museum
    Image caption: The staff was stolen from the Quai Branly museum in Paris (File image)

    A Congolese activist has been fined for stealing an African artefact from a museum in France.

    Emery Mwazulu Diyabanza said he took the 19th Century Chadian funeral staff from the Quai Branly museum in June as part of a protest against colonial-era plundering.

    Mr Diyabanza intends to appeal against the 1,000 euro ($1,200; £900) fine, reports AFP news agency.

    He is quoted by AFP as saying that the "judges of a corrupt government" had no moral right to prevent him "going to get what belongs to us".

    "We will continue the fight with whatever means we have," he added.

    Vice magazine has described Mr Diyabanza as "a real-life Killmonger" - a character in the Black Panther film who protests against a museum in Europe keeping an artefact pillaged from Africa.

  11. Criticism as Chad forces 12 newspapers to close

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    Men look at an array of newspapers in Chad in 2016.
    Image caption: The authorities have accused the publications of breaking the law (file photo)

    The media regulator in Chad has closed down 12 publications, accusing them of breaking the law.

    Five French-language weekly newspapers and seven Arab dailies have been suspended for at least three months.

    The authorities said the publications had failed to meet requirements that senior staff were trained in journalism and had at least three years' higher education.

    Chad's Human Rights League described the suspension as a "shame" for the country.

  12. Cameroon arrests dozens of suspected hostage-takers

    Killian Ngala

    BBC News, Yaoundé

    A map showing Cameroon's Adamawa and North regions, and the neighbouring countries of Nigeria, Chad and Central African Republic.

    Thirty-three people have been arrested on suspicion of taking hostages and selling contraband goods in Cameroon's North and Adamawa regions.

    Motorbikes and illegal drugs were also confiscated in the operation code-named Adano, the military says.

    A spokesman said there had been a recent spike in criminal activity in the northern regions' borders with Nigeria and the Central African Republic (CAR) - including trafficking of various forms and customs fraud.

    Cameroon's northern regions have become focal points for kidnappers, with cattle breeders there being the main targets.

    In 2018 alone, at least 250 people were kidnapped in Adamawa and North regions, several of them killed by their kidnappers, according to the Association for the Promotion of Animal Husbandry in the Sahel and Savannah.

    The kidnapping crisis began in 2013 at the height of CAR's civil conflict.

    Rebels from CAR and Chad involved in the war, with the complicity of local criminals, began kidnapping cattle breeders and demanding ransoms.

    Some $3.6m (£2.8m) has been paid in ransom between 2015 and 2018, according to several breeders' associations.

  13. Chad president named field marshal for fighting jihadists

    Chadian President Idriss Deby has been named a field marshal by parliament.

    The honour was given to him during Tuesday's celebration of the country's 60th anniversary of independence from France.

    It is the highest military rank in the country.

    The parliamentary speaker explained it was in recognition of him leading an offensive against jihadists in April.

    The country has been facing attacks from Islamist militants like its neighbours across the Sahel region.

    “You are an icon and a symbol for Chad,” the speaker of the assembly, Haroun Kabadi, was quoted as saying during the ceremony.

    The president dedicated the honour “to all my brothers in arms”.

    “The threat of terrorism is still there, and it is ruthless... The fight against terrorism is a vital imperative and will remain at the core of our concerns," he said.

    He has already updated his twitter handle to add the title maréchal - the french for field marshall:

    View more on twitter
  14. Chad slows internet after viral video 'exposes soldier'

    Mary Harper

    Africa editor, BBC World Service

    A map of Chad showing the capital city.

    Chad says it has reduced internet speeds to curb the spread of messages on social media that it says incite hate and division.

    This follows the circulation of a video showing a soldier shooting a man at point-blank range after he was threatened with a knife.

    Activists say the soldier is from the same ethnic group as President Idriss Déby, which they say rules Chad with impunity.

    Mr Déby said last week that social media should not be used to criticise ethnic groups.

    He has been in power for 30 years.

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