temporary withdrawal of American soldiers raises a wave of questions

one week before the referendum the yes campaign is in

The United States will temporarily withdraw troops from Chad, the Pentagon announced days after agreeing to withdraw its forces from neighboring Niger. In Chad, the United States has around a hundred soldiers as part of the fight against terrorism in the Sahel. This withdrawal, even temporary, raises a wave of questions. Explanations.

3 mins

With our correspondent in Ndjamena, Carol Valade

At Chad, it is now official: the United States announced on April 25, 2024 its decision to reposition a large part of its troops stationed in Chad. The affair was made public at the end of the week by the leak on social networks of a letter from the chief of staff of the Chadian air force addressed to the Minister of Defense.

In this missive, General Idriss Amine Ahmed indicates that the Air Force asked the American defense attaché “ to immediately stop American activities » at Kosei air base.

Read alsoCalls on current events – [Vos questions] American military presence called into question in Chad?

The affair caused a lot of ink to be spilled because it was revealed on the same day that Washington formalized the withdrawal of a thousand soldiers stationed in neighboring Niger.

This departure of American troops should take place in the next few days but it could only be temporary. According to the Pentagon spokesperson, this is “ reposition part of the American forces in Chad, some of which are already leaving “. A ” temporary step in the review of our security cooperation (…) which will resume after the presidential election on May 6 “, he said.

A recovery therefore, but conditional on an agreement on a new “status of forces”, the text which governs the American military presence in Chad.

Nobody asked the Americans to leave! »

According to the American press, the first departures should take place this weekend, until Wednesday. On the Chadian side, the Minister of Defense, Yacouba Dago, contacted by RFI indicates that “ no one asked the Americans to leave! ” He adds : ” The Air Force simply asked for clarification after finding that documents were missing to justify the presence of the Americans on the Kosei base. »

This departure raises many questions: what were the American soldiers deployed in Chad doing? And what could have caused this escalation? Of the hundred American soldiers deployed, around 75 members of the Special Forces are affected by this departure, according to the New York Times. They supported counterterrorism operations in the Sahel and the Lake Chad region.

The hypothesis of an alliance reversal remains the least likely. The existence of political dissensions around the presidential election cannot be ruled out. But most experts lean toward a way for Ndjamena to do ” raise the stakes » in some way in the hope of obtaining more favorable agreement conditions.

The announcement of the withdrawal of American troops could therefore be a sort of “ answer » in what begins to resemble a standoff.

Read alsoIn Chad, the activities of American troops called into question