USDOS – US Department of State (Author)
Overview: The Government of Chad continued to prioritize counterterrorism efforts at the highest level; however, the worsening financial crisis affected its ability to meet even basic financial commitments, such as paying police and military salaries. Although financial hardships have limited the country’s ability to provide external counterterrorism assistance in Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria, Chad engaged in major external military operations in 2016 in neighboring countries. Chad continued to provide combat forces to the Lake Chad Basin Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), which also includes Benin, Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria. This follows Chad’s contribution in 2013 to Operation Sabre, French intervention in northern Mali, and its ongoing contribution to the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali.
2016 Terrorist Incidents: Attacks in Chad by Boko Haram (BH) fell in 2016 from 2015, likely due to an increased and proactive security force presence by the Government of Chad and the MNJTF, community support for Chadian forces, and a split within BH.
In 2016, there were four reports of terrorist attacks resulting in casualties, all within Chad’s Lake Region. These attacks consisted of two personnel-borne improvised explosive devices (IEDs) targeting civilian populations in January that resulted in three people killed and 56 injured in the towns of Guite and Miterine; one road-based IED (target unknown); and minor conflicts between military and BH elements in August and September.
Legislation, Law Enforcement, and Border Security: The Government of Chad passed counterterrorism legislation on August 5, 2015, although it was unclear if anyone had been prosecuted under this law. Law 034/PR/2015 explicitly criminalizes terrorism and provides penalties for those convicted of terrorist acts. It imposes the death penalty on any person who commits, finances, recruits, or trains people for participation in acts of terrorism, regardless of where the act was intended to be carried out. The law extended the pre-trial detention period to 30 days, renewable twice on authorization from the public prosecutor. Penalties for lesser terrorist offenses were increased to life imprisonment. Some civil society organizations expressed concern that the law was overly restrictive, required little evidence to prosecute individuals, and could be used to curtail freedoms of expression and association. The Government of Chad faced a significant backlog of terrorism cases pending in the judicial process, which has led to more-than-usual overcrowding of prisons.
While Chadian law enforcement units displayed basic command and control capacity, the Director General of the Chadian National Police requested more training in investigations, crisis response, and border security capacity. All 22 police brigades perform counterterrorism functions. Law enforcement leadership professed publicly the requirement for all law enforcement officers to respect human rights. In practice, however, there were reports the government or its agents committed arbitrary and unlawful killings, including by torture, and impunity was an issue. The Director General of the police has worked to improve the Chadian National Police, including through information sharing across other governmental security agencies.
The Government of Chad continued to operate at a heightened level of security and has instituted screenings at border-crossings to prevent infiltration by members of BH and Central African militias, as well as transit of illegal arms, drugs, and other contraband. Border patrol continued to be provided by a combination of border security officials, gendarmes, police, and military. Chad continued to screen travelers using the U.S.-provided Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES) at major ports of entry.
Chad continued its participation in the Department of State’s Antiterrorism Assistance (ATA) program. In 2016, several hundred additional police officers attended ATA training in both Chad and the United States, and received additional equipment specifically designated for counterterrorism units within the Chadian National Police.
Countering the Financing of Terrorism: Chad is a member of the Task Force on Money Laundering in Central Africa, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. Chad’s financial intelligence unit, the National Agency for Financial Investigation (ANIF), is a member of the Egmont Group of Financial Intelligence Units.
Chad criminalized terrorist financing through the 2003 adoption of an anti-money laundering/counterterrorist financing (AML/CFT) law drafted by the Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa. The law allows immediate freezing and confiscation of terrorist assets and requires a variety of organizations involved in financial transactions to monitor money/value transfers and report any anomalies (the law does not appear to list non-profit organizations specifically within the list of organizations required to comply). It provides for compilation, updating, and distribution of United Nations sanctions lists, but does not stipulate a timeframe for their designation. The government also requires Know Your Customer rules for both foreign and domestic transactions.
ANIF, which falls under the authority of the Ministry of Finance and Budget, is tasked with ensuring public and private financial institutions in Chad implement the AML/CFT law. It investigates suspicious transactions brought to its attention by financial institutions and refers cases to the Attorney General’s office in the Ministry of Justice and Guardian of the Seal and Human Rights for further action and prosecution. ANIF works closely with the Ministry of Public Security and Immigration, the Antiterrorist Unit of the National Police, the National Police, the Directorate of Customs and Excise, and the Central Bank.
For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, see the 2017 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume II, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.
Countering Violent Extremism: Although the Government of Chad does not have a Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) National Action Plan, it remained concerned about the threat of violent extremism within its borders. The government consistently identified the primary driver of violent extremism as lack of economic opportunity, which is exploited by violent extremists who target vulnerable populations. The Chadian government also remained particularly concerned about the influence of Salafist imams and theologies, as well as funding from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and other Middle Eastern charities and states. In the past, the government has revoked the legal charters of what it identified as Salafist-leaning associations and religious organizations.
The number of Chadians joining terrorist organizations was low in 2016. Chadians who joined BH or ISIS-West Africa appeared to come mostly from the Boudouma ethnic group in the North of Lake Chad. Therefore, it seems familial or economic ties to current members of the groups provided the strongest incentive to join the group. Separately, there was evidence of a few individuals self-radicalizing through social media and propaganda, most recently with an individual apprehended in December.
The Chadian government created an Office of Religious and Traditional Leaders, within the Ministry of Territorial Administration and Local Governance, to spearhead its CVE efforts, but this office remained new and skeletal and has not demonstrated strong leadership on any matters. The Government of Chad continued to use its five-year development strategy as its primary tool to prevent and counter violent extremism. Of particular relevance for the Government of Chad is a focus on education, vocational training, and job placement, which it believes are key tools to address violent extremism. Alongside its five-year development strategy, it also has a National Strategy for Social Protection, which is a pillar of its non-military efforts to counter violent extremism.
Auspiciously, this year, more than 1,000 individuals previously associated with BH returned to Chad. Disillusionment with BH and unmet expectations of how their lives would change were suspected reasons.
Efforts to encourage defections and returnees among the Bouduma people around the lake were mostly informal. At year’s end, no known national strategic messaging or alternative narrative strategy was in place. Moderate messaging was broadcast over 16 community radio stations and one state-operated radio station under a U.S. Agency for International Development project to counter violent extremism. The project also funded the creation of a moderate, Arabic-language newspaper to provide an outlet for expression among Muslim youth.
International and Regional Cooperation: Chad chaired the African Union and held the G-5 Sahel presidency in 2016. Chad remained active in the Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership and was a member of the Lake Chad Basin Commission; it participated in the Commission’s effort to develop the MNJTF and deployed a contingent of 700 troops along the Lake Chad border to prevent infiltration by BH. Chad has also cooperated actively with Cameroon and Nigeria in operations to counter the threat of BH in its border regions, and continued to work with Sudan on the joint border commission the two countries established in 2012 to better control the Chad‑Sudan eastern border.
Chad continued to host the French government’s Operation Barkhane, a successor to Operations Serval and Epervier, formerly based in Mali and Chad, respectively. In November, Chad and Algeria signed a memorandum to strengthen cooperation in security areas.