Tibesti Region

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



Map of Tibetsi Region.jpg
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.



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]


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. [11]


The regional capital is Bardaï; other major settlements include Aouzou, Goubonne, Wour, Zouar and Zoumri. [12]


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. [13]


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

Geography of Chad African country

Chad is one of the 48 landlocked countries in the world and is located in North Central Africa, measuring 1,284,000 square kilometers (495,755 sq mi), nearly twice the size of France and slightly more than three times the size of California. Most of its ethnically and linguistically diverse population lives in the south, with densities ranging from 54 persons per square kilometer in the Logone River basin to 0.1 persons in the northern B.E.T. (Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti) desert region, which itself is larger than France. The capital city of N'Djaména, situated at the confluence of the Chari and Logone Rivers, is cosmopolitan in nature, with a current population in excess of 700,000 people.

Hissène Habré

Hissène Habré, also spelled Hissen Habré, is a Chadian politician who served as the President of Chad from 1982 until he was deposed in 1990. He was brought to power with the support of France and the United States, who provided training, arms and financing.

Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti (prefecture)

Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti Prefecture was the largest of the 14 prefectures of Chad between 1960 and 1999. It was transformed into Borkou-Ennedi-Tibesti Region, one of the 18 regions into which the country has been divided since 2002. Its name is often abbreviated to BET.

Faya-Largeau Place in Borkou, Chad

Faya-Largeau is the largest city in northern Chad and was the capital of the region of Bourkou-Ennedi-Tibesti. It is now in the Borkou Region, which was formed in 2008 from the Borkou Department of the former Bourkou-Ennedi-Tibesti region.

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 extension into southern Libya. The highest peak in the range, Emi Koussi, lies to the south at a height of 3,445 metres (11,302 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 craters: 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.

Daza language

Daza is a Nilo-Saharan language spoken by the Daza people inhabiting northern Chad. The Daza are also known as the Gouran (Gorane) in Chad. Dazaga is spoken by around 380,000 people, primarily in the Djurab Desert region and the Borkou region, locally called Haya or Faya-Largeau northern-central Chad, the capital of the Dazaga people. Dazaga is spoken in the Tibesti Mountains of Chad, in the eastern Niger near N'guigmi and to the north. It is also spoken to a smaller extent in Libya and in Sudan, where there is a community of 3,000 speakers in the city of Omdurman. There's also a small diaspora community working in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Toubou people

The Toubou, or Tubu, are an 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 that was active in Chad between 1966 and 1993.

Bardaï, Chad Town in Tibesti, Chad

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.

Chadian–Libyan conflict

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 archeologist who was taken hostage by a group of Chadian rebels, led by Hissène Habré, on 20 April 1974, at Bardaï, in the Tibesti Mountains of northern Chad. At the same time, the rebels also seized a German doctor, Christophe Staewen, and Marc Combe, who was an assistant of Claustre's husband, Pierre.

Toyota War Last phase of the Chadian–Libyan conflict. It takes its name from the Toyota pickup trucks used

The Toyota War or Great Toyota War was the last phase of the Chadian–Libyan conflict, which took place in 1987 in Northern Chad and on the Libyan–Chadian border. It takes its name from the Toyota pickup trucks used, primarily the Toyota Hilux and the Toyota Land Cruiser, to provide mobility for the Chadian troops as they fought against the Libyans. The 1987 war resulted in a heavy defeat for Libya, which, according to American sources, lost one tenth of its army, with 7,500 men killed and US$1.5 billion worth of military equipment destroyed or captured. Chadian losses were 1,000 men killed.

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 Africans 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 for Africans in Niger, Congo-Brazzaville and Chad, where he continued his research on African psychology.

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.

The Battle of Aouzou refers to a pair of battles fought between Chad and Libya in and around the town of Aouzou (Chad) in August 1987, as part of the Toyota War, the last phase of the larger Chadian–Libyan conflict. The first battle resulted in a Chadian victory, while the second battle, a Libyan counteroffensive, is deemed to have been won by Libya. It was the only Libyan victory of the Toyota War.

Ennedi-Ouest (region) Region of Chad

Ennedi-Ouest Region is a region of Chad, created in 2012 from the western half of Ennedi Region. It appears to cover the same territory as the former Ennedi Ouest Department. The capital of the region is Fada.

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), lead by Toubou 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 Idriss Déby, President and de facto dictator 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

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.


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