France began to airlift the first part of its garrison home from Chad on Monday (13 October).
France began to airlift the first part of its garrison home from Chad on Monday (13 October). The move came after a Chad government announcement that its order for the expulsion of all French troops from the country by the end of the month was irrevocable.
The order came after direct French government negotiations with Toubou rebels in northern Chad for the release of 38-year-old French archaeologist, Madame Francoise Claustre. Mme Claustre had been in rebel hands for over 18 months and recently French government officials paid a ransom of 10 million frances (1 million pounds sterling) worth of cash and non-military equipment following a death sentence deadline on the archaeologist. Further talks came to a standstill after another rebel demand involving arms.
On Monday, an advance flight of troops left the Chad capital, Ndjamena, to fly to southern France to prepare for the evacuation. They were later followed by a DC-3 carrying soldiers and their dependants.
In France, military sources said that a mechanised company and some 40 families had arrived in the southern city of Toulon.
On Tuesday (14 October), the Chad Finance Minister, General Negue Djogo said that the departure of French troops was a hitch in the search for a special Franco-Chad relationship.