Austria Sent 160 Soldiers to Chad
The Austrian Armed Forces deployed a total of 160 soldiers to the Republic of Chad. The soldiers are part of the European Union's EUFOR mission to protect refugees from the war-torn Sudanese region of Darfur. The contingent comprises special operations forces, medical personnel, and logistic personnel, as well as staff officers for the mission headquarters in Paris and N´Djamena.
The Austrian contingent is based at Abéché, the capital of Ouaddaï Region in eastern Chad. Since April 2008, the soldiers have been operational. As part of the EUFOR mission, the Austrian contingent has the following objectives:
- to protect the civilians who are in danger, particularly refugees and displaced persons,
- to improve the security in their area of operation, in order to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid and the free movement of humanitarian personnel,
- to contribute to measures that support the voluntary return of refugees and displaced persons,
- to protect UN personnel, facilities, equipment, and to ensure the freedom of movement of its staff and UN associated personnel.
"Humanitarian Mission More Important than Ever"
"The humanitarian mission in Chad is more important than ever", said Minister of Defence Norbert Darabos in a statement. "The refugees and aid organisations desperately need military protection. Our soldiers are optimally prepared for this." Darabos also stated that the troops would help bring stability to the region - and would also help to prevent an African crises from spilling over into Europe.
UN Resolution 1778
On the 25 September 2007, the UN Security Council's 1778th resolution approved the establishment of a UN mission in Chad and the Central African Republic. The EU was authorised by the UN to deploy forces in these countries. On 28 January 2008, the EU decided to launch a military operation in eastern Chad and in north eastern Central African Republic.