US has expanded travel ban to Chad and removed Sudan
US intelligence suggests that Chadian authorities have not been sharing information on terrorism.”
CHAD HAS called on the US government to reverse its decision to include the country on its travel ban list.
Foreign Minister Madeleine Alingué said in a statement that the decision undermined the image of Chad and good relations between the two countries. She added that Chad was a partner in the fight against terrorism and that the ban would ruin its bilateral relationship with the US.
Citizens of Chad are now banned from gaining business and tourist visas for the US. Seven other countries are also affected by the ban — Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, North Korea and Venezuela — while Sudan was removed from the list.
US President Donald Trump’s original ban in March was highly controversial, as it affected six majority-muslim countries, and was widely labelled a “Muslim ban.” It has been challenged in court. President Trump’s proclamation will come as a surprise to many Lake Chad Basin watchers, but US intelligence suggests that Chadian authorities have not been sharing information relating to public safety and terrorism with their US counterparts.
The US also said that Chad, a mainly Muslim country, was a haven for jihadist groups but among the Lake Chad Basin nations (Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria), it has suffered the fewest attacks from Boko Haram militants.
Chad has been, in Washington’s words, “an important and valuable” partner in the fight against Islamist militancy and its capital Ndjamena is home to the headquarters of the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) formed to tackle Boko Haram.
Chad has also hosted the annual Us-led Flintlock military exercise in West Africa three times.
France is another Western power that has seen value in keeping Chad close, basing its regional counter-terrorism force Operation Barkhane in Ndjamena. It has not expressed any concerns — at least, not publicly — about its African partner not sharing intelligence.
President Idris Deby has long complained about the lack of international support in funding the fight against Boko Haram, even threatening to withdraw his troops from the MNJTF.
His forces have struggled to sufficiently police its vast northern regions and this could be part of what the US is concerned about. However, over the years, Chadian troops have proven their effectiveness in battle during military interventions in the Central African Republic and Mali. More recently, they made a significant contribution in suppressing Boko Haram fighters between 2014 and 2015 when the group controlled huge swathes of territory in neighbouring Nigeria.
Losing Chad’s cooperation would be major blow to counter-terrorism efforts in the region. This curious attempt to arm-twist the central African nation could be counter-productive.
Angela Merkel, leader of the Christian Democrats party won her fourth term as German Chancellor in elections held on September 24.