Ending The Proxy Conflict Between Chad And Sudan

Ending The Proxy Conflict Between Chad And Sudan

Year(s): 2006 – 2010.

Location: Chad/Sudan International Border.

UN Regional Group: Africa.

Type of Conflict: Vertical (state-based) Intrastate Conflict with Foreign Involvement, Risk of an Interstate Conflict.

Type of Initiative: Mediation of a peace agreement.

Main Implementing Organisation(s): The governments of Senegal, Saudi Arabia, and Libya.

Impact: Lasting.

Summary: A peace agreement mediated by the Government of Senegal helped to end years of proxy conflict between the governments of Chad and Sudan and reduce the risk of a major interstate conflict between them.

Description of Case 

After seizing power in Chad in 1990, the administration of Idriss Déby was challenged by an array of armed opposition groups. In 1991-1995 and 1997-2002, these groups conducted an insurgency against Chadian security forces. Ongoing peace talks achieved a break in the fighting in 2002, but the conflict reignited in 2005. In this instance, the armed groups involved were linked to the conflict in the Darfur region of neighbouring Sudan.[1] On 18 December 2005, one of the rebel groups attacked Adré, a strategic border town that is considered vital for the defence of Chad against attacks from Sudan, forcing Chadian forces to withdraw. This not only constituted the beginning of another conflict but left a swathe of the frontier open to raiding by Janjaweed militias. In response, the Chadian government condemned their Sudanese counterparts for sponsoring the armed groups and began mobilising its military.[2] Human Rights Watch documented Sudanese troops operating alongside the Janjaweed militias, as well as the presence of Sudanese helicopter gunships and spotter aircraft in Chadian airspace.[3] Although the complex situation presented serious practical challenges to the conduct of any large military operations, Sudanese military forces had invaded and pillaged eastern Chad, bringing the two countries to the brink of a major interstate conflict.  

The international effort to end the conflict and prevent a much larger war began almost immediately, with the Government of Libya hosting peace talks less than two months after the first clashes. These negotiations culminated with the Tripoli Agreement on 6 February 2006, which called for the normalisation of relations, the end of state sponsorship of armed opposition groups, and the deployment of an African peace operation to monitor the border.[4] Despite this agreement, 2006 proved to be one of the bloodiest in Chadian history and the risk of a much larger war erupting remained.[5] The following year, further talks were hosted by the Government of Saudi Arabia, resulting in an agreement that reiterated many of the terms previously agreed in Tripoli.[6] In 2009, yet another round of negotiations hosted by the Senegalese government led to the signing of the Doha Agreement, which was witnessed by the Secretary-Generals of the UN and the Organisation of Islamic Conference.[7] Both Chad and Sudan continued to face armed conflict, but the Doha Agreement ended the proxy conflict between them and restored a degree of stability to the region. On 15 January 2010, bilateral relations were formally normalised with the signing of the Ndjamena Accord.[8]


[1] UCDP. Chad. (UCDP, 2021) Available at: https://ucdp.uu.se/country/483 (Accessed 24/11/2021)

[2] Human Rights Watch. Darfur Bleeds: Recent Cross-Border Violence in Chad. (HRW, 2006) pp.5-7

[3] Ibid. p.11

[4] Tripoli Agreement to Settle the Dispute between the Republic of Chad and the Republic of Sudan, 2006. Available at: https://peacemaker.un.org/chad-sudan-tripoli-agreement2006 (Accessed 24/11/2021)

[5] UCDP. Chad: Government. (UCDP, 2021) Available at: https://ucdp.uu.se/conflict/288 (Accessed 24/11/2021)

[6] Accord bilatéral pour le développement et le renforcement des relations entre Soudan et Tchad (Accord de Riyadh), 2007. Available at: https://peacemaker.un.org/chadsudan-riyadhagreement2007 (Accessed 24/11/2021)

[7] Doha Agreement, 2009. Available at: https://peacemaker.un.org/chadsudan-dohaagreement2009 (Accessed 24/11/2021)

[8] Accord de Ndjamena sur la normalisation des relations entre le Tchad et le Soudan, 2010. Available at: https://peacemaker.un.org/chadsudan-ndjamenaagreement2010 (Accessed 24/11/2021)