Around the 5th of February, French Mirage 2000s carried out several airstrikes to stop a caravan of “rebels” on their approach to the capital of Chad, N’Djamena. The interdiction came after the Chadian government requested support from France in the neutralization of Union of Resistance Forces (URF).

The URF convoy ostensibly left southern Libya—a fact disputed by security analysts—with the goal of “destabilizing the country,” according to French military officials. The convoy then refused to return after warnings and strikes from Chadian military forces on the 1st and 2nd of February, or even after the French Air Force strikes on the 3rd.

The General Staff of the Chadian Armed Forces reported the following:

  • More than 40 off-road vehicles were destroyed
  • 18 vehicles were recovered of which 16 were equipped with heavy weapons
  • Hundreds of small arms were seized, as well as a large number of munitions in different calibers
  • More 250 terrorists were captured, of which four were considered key leaders
  • Several compromising documents were seized
  • They are continuing to pursue and capture any escaped terrorists

Youssouf Hamid, the spokesman for the URF, said the French intervention was an example of France’s “unconditional support for Déby (Idriss Déby, president of Chad)” and denied the strike’s impact on URF forces. “Sure, there was some material damage,” he said, “but this fight is not over.”


Support from French forces in Chad, and more widely in former Francophone countries globally, should come as no surprise. Since its independence, Chad has undergone more French military interventions than any other former French colony. However, reasons for French military involvement and their tactics have changed considerably as of late.

Exercise CLOSE-AIR-SUPPORT French Air Force in Chad during Op Épervier

During the ’60s and ’70s, France was involved in multiple operations against the Chad National Liberation Front (FROLINAT). To halt Gaddafi’s expansion in Africa the French government launched Òperation Épervier (Sparrow Hawk). Épervier was also intended to prop up Chadian dictator Hissène Habré, who, in 2017, was convicted of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court. Habré was also a staunch ally to the French and U.S. during their fight against the Libyan regime.