Fluid loyalties in a regional crisis. Chadian combatants in the Central African Republic Article - Avril 2008

Marielle Debos

Marielle Debos, « Fluid loyalties in a regional crisis. Chadian combatants in the Central African Republic  », African Affairs, avril 2008, pp. 225-241. ISSN 0001-9909. 〈http://afraf.oxfordjournals.org/content/107/427/225.short〉

Abstract

This article examines a neglected pattern of the regional crisis in Darfur, Chad, and the Central African Republic : the cross-border activities of combatants with fluid loyalties. The trajectories of Chadian ‘ex-liberators’ in CAR, which have been little documented, are used to illustrate the regional movements of armed men. The article explains how unemployed Chadian soldiers were recruited to fight with François Bozizé in CAR and why many of them joined other armed groups after Bozizé’s takeover. The reconversions of armed combatants, who may easily shift allegiance and cross borders to carry on with their ‘politico-military careers’, is thus a structural characteristic of the current conflict, which has major implications both at the local and transnational levels. The article concludes that freelance military entrepreneurs’ trajectories are crucial in understanding the unfolding of this regional crisis.

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