Tibesti Region

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Coordinates: 21°21′16″N17°00′04″E / 21.35444°N 17.00111°E / 21.35444; 17.00111


Tibesti in Chad.svg
Map of Chad showing Tibesti.
Country Chad
Departments 2
Sub-prefectures 7
Capital Bardaï
 (2009) [1]
 The 2009 census figure is an official estimate. [1]

Tibesti Region (Arabic : مقاطعة تيبستي) is a region of Chad, located in far northwest of the country. Its capital is Bardaï. It was created in 2008 when the former Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti Region was split into three, with the Tibesti Department becoming the Tibesti Region. The region is named for the Tibesti Mountains, one of the most prominent mountain chains in the Sahara Desert. Tibesti is the least populated region of Chad, and also has the lowest GDP in the country.



The rock paintings and engravings in Tibesti bear witness to an ancient civilization from 25,000 B.C. There are rock engravings in the area of Zouar, featuring, among others, cows eating fresh grass, attesting to the wet past of the Sahara.[ citation needed ] The area has historically been mainly inhabited by the Toubou people.

Age of Colonisation

In 1869 Gustav Nachtigal was sent by German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck to contact the Sultan of Bornu, and was the first European to travel the Tibesti region from Zouar to Bardaï. [2] Condemned by the traditional assembly of the Toubou to capital punishment for espionage, he appealed, but this was rejected. He was only released upon the intervention of Maï Arami Tetimi. Upon his return to Germany he published the book Sahara and the Sudan detailing his experiences.

The capital, Bardaï, was invaded by the Ottoman Empire in 1908, and by 1911 they had 60 men and 6 cannons in the town. [3]

The area fell under French rule during the Scramble for Africa in the late 19th century. Prior to 1931 much of the region belonged to what is now Niger as part of the French West Africa colony. [4]

First Chadian Civil War

Claustre Affair

in 1974, during the First Chadian Civil War, rebels led by Toubou nationalist Hissène Habré captured French archaeologist Françoise Claustre, Marc Combe (also French), an assistant to Mrs. Claustre's husband, and Christoph Staewen, a German physician. Stray bullets killed Staewen's wife. The trio were captured near Bardaï in the desert of the Tibesti Region. Combe later escaped and Staewen was released after a ransom was paid by the German government. [5] Combe would later write a book about his experiences, Otage au Tibesti. [5]

Rebels also established a radio station in Bardaï called "Voice of the Liberation of Chad", also known as Radio Free Bardaï. [6] An opposition leader, Goukouni Oueddei, established a base in the Tibesti region in the early 1980s with Libyan military backing. [7] In December, 1986, Habré attacked the Libyans in the Tibesti region around Bardaï. [8]


In the late 2000s-early 2010s gold was discovered in the region, prompting a gold rush which has brought much insecurity to the region. [9] In September 2019 about 30 people died following the collapse of an illegal gold mine in Kouri Bougoudi. [10]

2021 offensive

An offensive from the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) rebel group began in the region on the day of the 2021 Chadian presidential election. On 20 April, President Idriss Déby was killed while visiting the frontlines of the conflict, the country's borders has been shut as a result of this. [11]


The region borders Libya to the north, Borkou Region to the east, and Niger to the west. The most northerly of Chad's regions, it is sparsely populated, being part of the Sahara Desert. It contains parts of the Tibesti Mountains, and also part of the Erg of Bilma, a vast area of sand dunes in the centre of the desert. The region's northern border lies within the Aouzou Strip, historically a point of dispute between Chad and Libya. [12]


The regional capital is Bardaï; other major settlements include Aouzou, Goubonne, Wour, Zouar and Zoumri. [13]


The region had a population of 25,483 at the time of the 2009 Chadian census. [1] The main ethnolinguistic group is the Tedaga Toubou. [14]


The region of Tibesti is divided into two departments:

Department Capital Sub-prefectures
Tibesti Est BardaïBardaï, Zoumri, Aouzou, Yebbibou
Tibesti Ouest Zouar Zouar, Wour, Goubonne

Related Research Articles

Chad, officially the Republic of Chad, is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It borders Libya to the north, Sudan to the east, the Central African Republic to the south, Cameroon and Nigeria to the southwest, and Niger to the west. Due to its distance from the sea and its largely desert climate, the country is sometimes referred to as the "Dead Heart of Africa".

Tibesti Mountains Mountain range in the Sahara

The Tibesti Mountains are a mountain range in the central Sahara, primarily located in the extreme north of Chad, with a small portion located in southern Libya. The highest peak in the range, Emi Koussi, lies to the south at a height of 3,415 meters (11,204 ft) and is the highest point in both Chad and the Sahara. Bikku Bitti, the highest peak in Libya, is located in the north of the range. The central third of the Tibesti is of volcanic origin and consists of five volcanoes topped by large depressions: Emi Koussi, Tarso Toon, Tarso Voon, Tarso Yega and Toussidé. Major lava flows have formed vast plateaus that overlie Paleozoic sandstone. The volcanic activity was the result of a continental hotspot that arose during the Oligocene and continued in some places until the Holocene, creating fumaroles, hot springs, mud pools and deposits of natron and sulfur. Erosion has shaped volcanic spires and carved an extensive network of canyons through which run rivers subject to highly irregular flows that are rapidly lost to the desert sands.

Toubou people North African ethnic group

The Toubou, or Tubu, are a Saharan ethnic group inhabiting northern Chad, southern Libya, northeastern Niger and northwestern Sudan. They live either as herders and nomads or as farmers near oases. Their society is clan-based, with each clan having certain oases, pastures and wells.

FROLINAT Rebel group in Chad in 1966–1993

FROLINAT was an insurgent rebel group active in Chad between 1966 and 1993.

Bardaï is a small town and oasis in the extreme north of Chad. It is the main town of the Tibesti Region, which was formed in 2008 from the Tibesti Department of the former Bourkou-Ennedi-Tibesti region.

Operation Épervier was the French military presence in Chad from 1986 until 2014.

Chadian–Libyan conflict 1978–1987 series of military campaigns

The Chadian–Libyan conflict was a series of military campaigns in Chad between 1978 and 1987, fought between Libyan and allied Chadian forces against Chadian groups supported by France, with the occasional involvement of other foreign countries and factions. Libya had been involved in Chad's internal affairs prior to 1978 and before Muammar Gaddafi's rise to power in Libya in 1969, beginning with the extension of the Chadian Civil War to northern Chad in 1968. The conflict was marked by a series of four separate Libyan interventions in Chad, taking place in 1978, 1979, 1980–1981 and 1983–1987. In all of these occasions Gaddafi had the support of a number of factions participating in the civil war, while Libya's opponents found the support of the French government, which intervened militarily to support the Chadian government in 1978, 1983 and 1986.

Françoise Claustre, was a French archaeologist.

Pierre Galopin was a French military officer who came to international attention when he was captured by a group of Chadian rebels, led by Hissène Habré, on 4 August 1974 in the Tibesti mountains, in the middle of the Sahara desert. He was tried by a "revolutionary tribunal", sentenced to death on 26 December 1974 and, on 4 April 1975, executed by hanging.

Dr. Christoph Staewen was a German medical doctor, specialist of psychiatry, neurology and psychotherapy. In 1963 and early 1964 he visited parts of west and central Africa, amongst others the Tibesti region. In 1964, amongst the people of Yoruba, he began to study in Western Nigeria the conditions of uprooting of these people caused by the increasing confrontation with the technical civilisation of the "First World", and provoking more and more reactions of anxiety and deformations of behaviour. In Nigeria he received texts of the famous, secret Ifa-oracle. Later he worked for more than six years as all-round-doctor in Niger, Congo-Brazzaville and Chad, where he continued his research on African psychology.

Chad–Libya relations Bilateral relations

Chad–Libya relations have arisen out of centuries of ethnic, religious, and commercial ties.

Chad achieved independence in 1960. At the time, it had no armed forces under its own flag. Since World War I, however, southern Chad, particularly the Sara ethnic group, had provided a large share of the Africans in the French army. Chadian troops also had contributed significantly to the success of the Free French Forces in World War II. In December 1940, two African battalions began the Free French military campaign against Italian forces in Libya from a base in Chad, and at the end of 1941, a force under Colonel Jacques Leclerc participated in a spectacular campaign that seized the entire Fezzan region of southern Libya. Colonel Leclerc's 3,200-man force included 2,700 Africans, the great majority of them southerners from Chad. These troops went on to contribute to the Allied victory in Tunisia. Chadians, in general, were proud of their soldiers' role in the efforts to liberate France and in the international conflict.

Borkou (region of Chad) Region of Chad

The Borkou region is a region of Chad which was created in 2008 from the Borkou department of the former Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti region. Its capital is Faya-Largeau.

Ennedi-Est (region) Region of Chad

Ennedi-Est Region is one of the twenty-three regions of Chad. The capital of the region is Am-Djarass. The region's current governor is General Hassan Djorobo.

Ennedi-Ouest (region) Region of Chad

Ennedi-Ouest Region is one of the twenty-three regions of Chad.

The Claustre Affair was a hostage crisis during the First Chadian Civil War. Chadian rebels, calling themselves the Command Council of the Armed Forces of the North (CCFAN), led by Nakaza nationalist Hissène Habré kidnapped Françoise Claustre, a French archaeologist, Marc Combe, a worker in a French development organization in Chad, and Christoph Staewen, a German doctor. Although Combe escaped and Staewen was ransomed back by the West German government, the rebels demanded a ransom of 10 million francs for Mrs. Claustre and her husband Pierre, who was later also captured by the rebels. The case garnered international attention, with the French sending a negotiator who was later executed. Finally the French appealed to Muammar Gaddafi to free the hostages, which he then did. The affair showcased Libya's growing influence in Central Africa.

Military Command Council for the Salvation of the Republic

The Military Command Council for the Salvation of the Republic is a Chadian militant rebel group that seeks to overthrow the government of Chad. Founded in 2016, it currently operates in the border regions of northern Chad, southern Libya, eastern Niger, and western Sudan. The CCMSR has become involved in the Second Libyan Civil War, and took control of the Kouri Bougoudi area in northern Chad in 2018.

Chad–Libya border International border

The Chad–Libya border is 1,050 km in length and runs from the tripoint with Niger in the west, to the tripoint with Sudan in the east.

2021 Northern Chad offensive Rebel offensive in Northern Chad

A military offensive in Northern Chad, initiated by the Chadian rebel group Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), took place from 11 April to 9 May 2021. It began in the Tibesti Region in the north of the country following the 2021 Chadian presidential election.


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  10. Al Jazeera - Many feared dead in Chad gold mine collapse: Minister, 26 September 2019
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