- Though at war with its rebels, who threaten to occupy the capital N'djamena, the government of Idriss Déby would not sit by and see thousands of nomadic Mahamid Arabs of Chadian origin face expulsion by the authorities of neighbouring Niger.
Large numbers of nomadic Mahamid Arabs, who originally hailed from Chad, have been living in Niger for over fifty years. Warfare and long drought in Chad had forced the nomads to cross borders to the neighbouring countries, particularly Niger, where their population by now is estimated to be over 150,000.
Originally, they mostly resided in Biltine region, north-eastern Chad along the border of Sudan. By now, however, it is difficult to establish their nationality, given that they freely roamed across borders of various nations with their herds, mostly camels, the Italian news agency 'Misnat' reported.
But the Nigerien government apparently ordered the nomads to leave the country, although most Mahamid residents were born in the West African country. This has attracted negative reactions around the world, with human rights organisations holding the government of Niger to task.
The dwindling popularity of Nigerien President Mamadou Tandja among the nomads is said to have prompted the expulsion order, although the Niamey government has denied this.
Now that the issue has reached its climax, the Chadian government of Idriss Déby has expressed its interest to offer joint solution to the problem.
"We learned about it in the media, Niger authorities warned us of nothing", stated Chad's Foreign Minister Ahmat Allami, asking Niamey not to proceed with its expulsion agenda. "If there is a problem, we hope to resolve it in an atmosphere of calm, dialogue and consultation", the Minister added.
Mr Allami, however, said if the Nigerien government still wants to push its expulsion order, then they should do it in a calm atmosphere.
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