Glossary of Ethnic Groups in Chad

There are more than 200 ethnic groups in Chad. Those listed below are only those that are relevant to this report.


Arabized, Arabic-speaking groups of nomadic and semi-nomadic people living in both Chad and Sudan.  Arabs are prominent among the Janjaweed militias and are also prominent among militias carrying out attacks against civilians in eastern Chad.


The largest non-Arab ethnic group in Dar Sila, also found in some areas of Darfur.


Also known as Toubou, this non-Arab ethnic group mainly lives in northern Chad, but also in Sudan, Libya, and Niger. Most are nomadic herders; others are some semi-nomadic.


Goran subclan. Former president Hissène Habré is Anakaza Goran, as is Chadian rebel Mahamat Nouri.


Goran subclan with historically strained relations with the Anakaza Goran.


Non-Arab ethnic group found exclusively in Dar Sila department in eastern Chad; linguistically related to the Kadjeske and Kibet.


Non-Arab ethnic group from the Ouaddaï region in eastern Chad and throughout what is known as Dar Masalit in West Darfur. Many Sudanese Masalit live in Chadian refugee camps.


Non-Arab ethnic group from the Ouaddaï region of eastern Chad; many migrated to Dar Sila department between 1979 and 1985 following a drought.


Used in this report to describe a number of non-Arab ethnic groups in eastern Chad, including the Muro, Dajo, Massalit, Kadjeske, Sinyar, Kibet, et al.


A geographic term that is used to describe all the people living in the administrative region of Ouaddaï. Maba is the name of the non-Arab ethnic group underlying what is colloquially referred to as the Ouaddaï. The Ouaddaïens migrated to Dar Sila along with the Mimi and some Arab groups from Ouaddaï between 1979 and 1985 following a drought.


Non-Arab tribe in Dar Tama in northeastern Chad and in West Darfur. Chadian Tama have historical ties with Chad’s Arab tribes and some Sudanese Tama have participated in Sudanese government-backed Janjaweed militia. Some prominent Chadian rebel leaders are Tama. A small number of Tama from Darfur live in Sudanese refugee camps in eastern Chad.


Nomadic and semi-nomadic non-Arab ethnic group from Dar Zaghawa, which spans eastern Chad and North Darfur. Although a minority in Chad (Zaghawa constitute only one percent of the country’s population) and in Darfur, Zaghawa are prominent in the Darfur rebel movements and in the Chadian government and armed forces. Many Sudanese Zaghawa live in Sudanese refugee camps in eastern Chad.


Zaghawa subclan that includes Chadian President Idriss Déby, but also many Chadian rebels.


Zaghawa subclan closely related to the Goran ethnic group.