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Monday, June 16, 2008

O’ Dea visits Irish troops in Chad

Defence Minister Willie O'Dea has landed in the central African country of Chad today on his first official visit to Irish troops serving a peacekeeping mission in the region.

The Limerick East TD is using the 3 day trip to meet with military and diplomatic leaders but also to help boost the morale of the near 550 Irish soldiers on the year-long EUFOR mission in the country.

O’ Dea is going ahead with the visit despite shooting incidents involving the Irish troops on Saturday last which saw them come under fire from an unknown group of rebels near the eastern town of Goz Beida.

Since then rebels have moved out of the area and the Defence Minister and Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Dermot Earley decided to push ahead with their visit.

They will arrive in the capital, N'Djamena, this evening and hold talks with the Chadian Defence Minister.

They will travel southeast to Camp Ciara near the town of Goz Beida tomorrow where the Irish troops are stationed.
Via RTE News
Meanwhile as the Irish delegation lands in the country, the Chadian President Idriss Deby, has accused the European Union protection force (EUFOR) in eastern Chad of "closing its eyes" to the killing of civilians.

The Chadian leader said in a broadcast to the country that he was “surprised to see that, in its first hostile test, this force has rather cooperated with the invaders, allowing humanitarian workers' vehicles to be stolen and their food and fuel stocks burned and closing its eyes before the systematic massacre of civilians and refugees.”

Warfare has been raging in Chad between Government troops and numerous rebel factions with aims of overthrowing the countries regime.

Any readers who have relatives or friends in the Irish contingent or perhaps they're stationed at Sarsfield Barracks, Drop us a line in the comments section, tell us their story.

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