A conference of ten African nations is struggling to come to grips with one of the continents long-standing internal feuds in the central African state of Chad.
A conference of ten African nations is struggling to come to grips with one of the continents long-standing internal feuds in the central African state of Chad. A civil war which broke out there in February split the country. The conference opened in the Nigerian capital of Lagos on Wednesday (15 August) and is being attended by representatives of nine Chad warring factions struggling for power. One of the largest groups, the predominantly Moslem Chad Liberation Front, Frolinat, made a major conciliatory gesture on Sunday (12 August) when it freed one hundred and sixty-seven relations of prisoners of war.
SYNOPSIS: The detainees freed by Frolinat -- for the most part women and children--were taken to the airport at Faya, the capital of northern Chad, so they could fly to freedom. The whole operation was carefully supervised by the Red Cross who kept a close check on who was set free.
Frolinat forces have been fighting the Chad government for more than twelve years. They are backed by the Libyan Arab Jamahiriyah and claim the north is being denied its true Arab identity. Twenty thousand people are believed to have died since February and the country is now virtually partitioned between the Moslems in the north and the Christians in the south. Reconciliation attempts are hindered by difficulties in determining what territory is held by each faction.