1982 Libyan Troops Intervene in Chad

Civil War



Civil war broke out in Chad between the forces of President Goukouni Oededdei and Prime Minister Hisseene Habre. Hundreds were killed in the initial fighting. In November, Libya intervened on behalf of Oeuddi and soon captured the capital.

Chad, a nation located in north-central Africa, has experienced its fair share of political turmoil and civil conflict since gaining independence from France in 1960. One of the most tumultuous periods in the country's history occurred during the late 1970s and early 1980s, when a fierce power struggle emerged between President Goukouni Oueddei and Prime Minister Hissène Habré.

Goukouni Oueddei, who had initially secured his position with the backing of various rebel factions, found his leadership increasingly contested by Hissène Habré. Habré, once an ally of Oueddei, had grown ambitious and sought to consolidate power for himself. The tensions between the two leaders culminated in a full-blown civil war, with each side amassing significant military forces. The capital city of N'Djamena became a battleground, and hundreds of civilians and combatants lost their lives in the fierce initial clashes.

The situation was further complicated by external interventions. Libya, under the leadership of Muammar Gaddafi, had long held interests in Chad, particularly in the mineral-rich Aouzou Strip in the north of the country. Seeing an opportunity to expand its influence in Chad and further its regional ambitions, Libya decided to intervene in the civil war. In November, Libyan forces entered the fray, siding with President Goukouni Oueddei. Their superior firepower and numbers gave Oueddei's forces a distinct advantage.

Within a short span, Libyan troops, in collaboration with Oueddei's forces, managed to capture the capital city of N'Djamena. The intervention significantly altered the balance of power in the civil war. Habré's forces were pushed back, and for a time, it seemed as though Oueddei, with Libyan support, would firmly control the nation.

However, the Libyan intervention was not without its consequences. Many Chadians viewed the Libyan presence as an occupation, leading to increased resentment against both the foreign troops and Oueddei's government. Hissène Habré capitalized on this sentiment and, with support from France and the United States, managed to launch a successful counter-offensive in 1982. By June of that year, Habré's forces had recaptured N'Djamena, forcing Oueddei into exile and ending Libya's direct involvement in the conflict.

Habré's rule, which lasted until 1990, was marked by its own set of challenges and controversies. His regime was accused of committing numerous human rights abuses. Nevertheless, the conflict between Oueddei and Habré, and the subsequent Libyan intervention, remains a pivotal chapter in Chad's turbulent history.