Chadian Special Guard (Central African Republic)

Country: Central African Republic
Details of Formation: After the coup attempt in May 2001, Patassé recruited about Chadian mercenaries to support his security structures, after Chadian President Déby had refused bilateral aid in the form of military troops. Patassé put the warlord Aboulaye Miskine in charge of this group (FIDH). A news source contradicts this and says that Miskine himself had sent troops to the CAR to support Patassé.
Details of Termination: At the end of 2002, Miskine had to leave the CAR as stipulated in the Libreville Accords between Chad and the CAR (FIDH). However, we have no information to assume that the Chadian Special Guard as such was expatriated or forced to leave. The Chadian Special Guard was loyal to Patassé and became anti-government upon Bozize’s successful coup. Miskine was later accused before the International Criminal Court by the new CAR government for his responsibility as Chadian Special Guard commander during Patassé’s rule. Between 2004 and 2006 Miskine founded the Forces for the Democracy of the Central African People (FDPC), which became a CAR rebel group (UCDP). We have no information whether the Chadian Special Guard continued to exist as a group after it turned against the government.
Purpose: The Chadian Special Guard’s purpose is to secure the border with Chad. The group is also responsible for presidential security. Patassé used this group because he had lost trust in his army’s loyalty (FIDH). Another reason for using this group was the weakness of the CAR Army in the border region to Chad.
Organisation: The Chadian Special Guard was commanded by Abdoulaye Miskine who was only accountable to the Head of State, i.e. President Patassé. Patassé had de jure and de facto command responsibility over Miskine and the PGM. The Chadian Special Guard aka USP were a legal branch of the Central African Armed Forces (FIDH). Miskine is a former lieutenant of the southern Chad rebel movement and is described as warlord.
Weapons and Training: The Chadian Special Guard was armed by the Libyan forces. (FIDH)
Size: A news source reported that in August 2002 there were around 200-300 men in this group. One month later another news source mentioned 300. FIDH estimates that during the 2001 coup, there were around 375 fighters in Miskine’s group, with 300 Chadians; the whole PGM constituted 10%, and after the coup about 20% of the Central African Armed Forces. In October 2002, there were approximately 500 fighters. By November 2002 the number had reached an estimated 600 fighters (FIDH).
Reason for Membership: Some members had links to former Chadian heads of state or had been rebels during Hissène Habré. Others had nothing else to do but join the Chadian Special Guard. (FIDH)
Treatment of Civilians: The Chadian Special Guard mutilated and killed civilians of Chadian nationality, because they thought the Chadians were complicit with the rebels based on their nationality. Miskine ordered his group to commit the massacre; his men were not punished for the crimes. The President did nothing to prevent the crimes, and a few days later, upon Miskines departure to Togo, honoured him with the insignia of the Central African Order of Merit. (FIDH)
Other Information: The Chadian Special Guard is also known as Presidential Security Unit (USP, Unité de la Sécurité Présidentielle); their commander, Abdoulaye Miskine, is also known as Martin Koumtan Madji (FIDH). They are said to have massacred Chadians at the crossborder to Chad.
References: International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH). 2003. “War crimes in the Central African Republic. ‘When the elephants fight, the grass suffers’.” n° 355, February.