Tibesti Region

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


Tibetsi map.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 Prussian 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".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Faya-Largeau</span> 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Tibesti Mountains</span> 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Toubou people</span> Ethnic group in the central Sahara

The Toubou or Tubu are an ethnic group native to the Tibesti Mountains that inhabit the central Sahara in northern Chad, southern Libya and northeastern Niger. 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">FROLINAT</span> Rebel group in Chad in 1966–1993

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

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bardaï, Chad</span> 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.

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

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chadian–Libyan War</span> 1978–1987 series of military campaigns

The Chadian–Libyan War 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.

Françoise Claustre, was a French archaeologist.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Toyota War</span> Last phase of the Chadian–Libyan conflict

The Toyota War or Great Toyota War, which took place in 1987 in Northern Chad and on the Chad–Libya border, was the last phase of the Chadian–Libyan conflict. It takes its name from the Toyota pickup trucks, primarily the Toyota Hilux and the Toyota Land Cruiser, used to provide mobility for the Chadian troops as they fought against the Libyans, and as technicals. 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 forces only suffered 1,000 deaths.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chad–Libya relations</span> 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.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ennedi-Ouest (region)</span> 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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Military Command Council for the Salvation of the Republic</span>

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.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Chad–Libya border</span> International border

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">2021 Northern Chad offensive</span> Rebel offensive in Northern Chad

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  9. BBC - Chad gold mine collapse leaves about 30 people dead, 26 September 2019
  10. Al Jazeera - Many feared dead in Chad gold mine collapse: Minister, 26 September 2019
  11. "Chad President Idriss Deby dies visiting front-line troops: Army". www.aljazeera.com. Retrieved 2021-04-20.
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