The northernmost part of Chad
, in the Tibesti
region, bordering Libya
, which claimed it based on old colonial
maps. Libyan troops occupied it in 1973 when they were backing northern rebel
against the dictator Ngarta Tombalbaye
. It is named from the town of Aozou
in the north-western Tibesti.
Libya claimed only the strip as its own territory, but proceeded to occupy most of the north of Chad ostensibly in support of its client movements. After Tombalbaye's overthow in 1975 a series of governments came and went, and in 1987 Chadian troops were in a position to drive the Libyans back.
A ceasefire in 1989 led to an agreement to submit the disputed area to binding international arbitration. The International Court of Justice upheld Chad's claim in 1994 and Libya withdrew its remaining forces. This is in accord with the OAU's desire not to change the colonial boundaries that were in force at the time of independence. The court upheld the 1955 treaty between Libya and France demarcating the border.
The easing of hostility was also aided by the fact that in 1990 a Libyan client, Idriss Déby, had seized power in Chad from Hissène Habré, who had seized power in 1982 from Goukouni Oueddeï, both of whom had been former Libyan client northern rebel leaders, ahem.
Although it is desert, inhabited by a few Berber and Arab nomads, oil and especially uranium were enough to make the Aozou Strip worth taking. It was a focus of international concern because Chad, having no internal need for uranium, could export it to whoever its friends were, whereas Libya...