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Berman, Eric G and Louisa N. Lombard. 2008 ‘Indirect Transfers from Regional Armies and Armed Groups - Chad.’ The Central African Republic and Small Arms: A Regional Tinderbox, pp. 53-56. Geneva: Small Arms Survey, the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva. 1 December

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Indirect Transfers from Regional Armies and Armed Groups - Chad

Regional politics had resulted in a huge inflow of matériel, including small arms and light weapons, which would come to have a profound effect on CAR.

This situation changed dramatically during the second half of 1982. After seizing the capital and besting Goukouni and the FAP, Habré turned his attention southward to the strongholds of the FAT, which were led by Kamougué and Djibril Negue Djogo. Through a mixture of diplomacy and military might, Habré substantially decreased the threat that the FAT posed to his rule, persuading many of its soldiers to lay down their arms or join his army. As a conciliatory gesture, he renamed the army the Forces armées nationales tchadiennes.

Thousands of Chadians fled to CAR during this period, many with arms; Kamougué and the remnants of his fighting force were among them. Estimates as to their number vary from 10,000 to 30,000 by the end of 1984, including 5,000 in Bangui, according to UNHCR. One Central African who lived in the region at the time reported that it was common for these impoverished refugees to sell weapons they had brought with them in order to obtain money for food and other basic necessities. Some of the gun buyers then brought their purchases to Bangui, where they would fetch a higher price on the black market.

Far more worrying for CAR than a sudden influx of Chadian refugees, however, was the creation of Codos, or commandos, in southern Chad. While Habré had substantially reduced the threat the south posed to his fledgling regime, armed opposition in the south had not been wiped out. Many Codos were veterans of Kamougué's FAT who refused to join the new national army or lay down their weapons.

[CAR = Central African Republic; FANT = Forces armées nationales tchadiennes; FAT = Forces armées tchadiennes; UNHCR = The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees]

ID: Q5240

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