- The European Union has formally handed over the command of the EU protection force in eastern Chad to the United Nations peace keeping mission after the expiry of a year long service between Chad and Central African Republic. The hand-over, sees the UN deploying about 5,000 blue helmets in the country.
However, analysts said EU forces handover could worsen the crisis of Sudanese refugees in Chad’s refugees camps fearing more rebellion and the possible arrival of tens of thousands more refugees from Sudan's Darfur region.
Almost 500,000 people are living in camps in eastern Chad and the north-east of the Central African Republic.
EU forces began a year-long mission a year ago to protect refugees from Sudan's strife-torn Darfur region as well as people displaced by the rebel insurgency in Chad and the northern CAR. The force was comprised of around 3,200 soldiers drawn from 14 EU member countries.
The EU military official last week said about 2,000 EU troops would join the UN force which its mandate will run for a year and it will have a maximum of 5,200 military personnel and 300 police.
Analysts have said the recent issuance of the warrant of arrest against the Sudanese president Omar Al Bashir by the International Criminal Court earlier this month for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity in Darfur, could put thousands in danger as government retaliates against the ruling.
President Al Bashir's government expelled 13 aid organisations from Darfur last week, restricting UN assistance and raising fears that tens of thousands of refugees could abandon camps and cross to Chad.
At the same time, fears are growing of a resurgence of Chad's interlinked eastern rebellion, which after causing the besieging of the capital N'Djamena for two days a year ago had been largely quiet until rebel groups announced a new broad alliance in January.
Sudan and Chad, both oil producers, frequently accuse each other of backing rebel groups based around the border area.
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