As stability and prosperity of the Lake Chad region are under threat by the presence of terrorist groups, the European Union and Chadian government work together to increase security and border controls on Lake Chad and the Chari-Logone rivers. The improvement of security infrastructure marks a crucial step towards increasing regional stability and economic prosperity for the local population and fighting organised crime in the region.
Against the backdrop of widespread smuggling and the threat of increasing terrorist activities in the Lake Chad region, the Chadian government, together with the European Union (EU), decided to strengthen control over waterways and riverbanks. To this end, the FRONTCHAD project, funded under the Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (IcSP), has contributed to the improvement of security infrastructure and patrols on Lake Chad and Chari-Logone rivers.
Following the implementation of this 18 month project, a station of the Chadian water police agency Compagnie de la Sécurité Nautique (CSN) has opened on the banks of the lake and police officers have received trainings to professionally carry out river patrols, allowing them to effectively ensure the safety of residents and local merchants. In addition, to be able to show more physical presence on the lake, the water police agency CSN has been significantly strengthened with a staffing of now more than 333 police officers – up from 68 previously – as well as 13 new small boats and 8 border posts.
Addressing organised crime and fighting terrorism
In a region affected by terrorism, there is no safe and sustainable economic development without strong control of cross-border trade of goods. By increasing river patrols capacities and security infrastructure, the Chadian government and the EU are addressing serious cross-border problems, such as illicit trafficking of small arms and light weapons as well as drug trafficking which finance terrorist activities in the region. The seizure of an important shipment of cannabis and tramadol by the CSN in April 2018 shows how the project effectively contributes to the fight against organised crime.
A more stable and prosperous Lake Chad region
Given its strategic location and porous borders between Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria, the Lake Chad region has been one of the areas affected by the terrorist group Boko Haram. In an attempt to fight criminal and terrorist activities the Chadian government had decided to forbid fishing activities on the Lake Chad as well as on the Chari-Logone rivers. Market gardening, livestock farming and fishing activities decreased, effectively making access by the local population to financial resources more difficult. Thanks to the better trained and equipped CSN officers as well as awareness campaigns for local population, fishing and market gardening activities have now resumed, contributing to a more stable and prosperous Lake Chad region.