Journal of African Law

Articles

The Aouzou Strip Dispute—A Legal Analysis

Gino J. Naldi*

The outbreak of further hostilities between Chad and Libya in August 1987 was occasioned by a dispute concerning sovereignty over the so-called Aouzou Strip in northern Chad. The extent of Libyan involvement in Chad is motivated to a large degree by this territorial claim. This dispute must be distinguished from Libya's wider ambitions for Arab unity or its involvement in Chad's civil war, although it would appear true to say that Libya was thereby seeking to consolidate its hold on the Aouzou Strip. Documentary evidence exists to support the contention that a genuine territorial claim exists. In addition, it is interesting to note that, while Libya appeared to have resigned itself to the victory of President Habre's forces in the civil war and the defeat and expulsion of its forces from the rest of Chad in the early part of 1987, the capture of Aouzou by Habre's forces in August 1987 resulted in an ongoing military response brought to a tentative conclusion in September 1987 by the OAU. Colonel Gadafi has been reported as saying that, if Chad ceded the Aouzou Strip, he would regard the war as over and would never again interfere in Chad's internal affairs. Moreover, Colonel Gadafi's support for the rival factions in Chad has wavered according to their position on the question of the Aouzou Strip. The purpose of this short article is to analyse Libya's territorial claim to the disputed territory.

Footnotes

* LLM, PhD, Lecturer in Law, University of East Anglia.