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Chad accuses Sudan of border attack

Latest update : 2008-06-18

The Chadian government accused neighbouring Sudan of attacking the border town of Ade. Meanwhile Chadian rebel forces claimed Tuesday to have defeated government troops in Am-Zoer, a city north-west of Abeche.

Find out more about the controversy surrounding the role of EUFOR and French forces in Chad's latest rebel offensive by watching our Top Story.

 

 

Chad’s government accused Sudan’s army of staging attacks on a town along the Chad-Sudan border Tuesday as the recent rebel offensive against embattled President Idriss Deby threatened to seriously exacerbate the security and humanitarian situation in the volatile, crisis-ridden region.

 

Chadian rebels allied to various factions that form the National Alliance group have been advancing toward the capital of N’Djamena in recent days, sweeping through the country from their bases in eastern Chad, near the Sudanese border.

 

On Tuesday, the Chadian government accused the Sudanese army of “attacking the Chadian army garrison” in the eastern Chadian town of Ade. In a statement handed to the Reuters news agency by Chadian Communications Minister Mahamat Hissene, the Chadian government said the attack was conducted by Sudanese ground troops “supported by helicopters.”

 

But in an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24, Abdelwahid Aboud Mackaye, who heads the UFDD-F (Union of Democratic Forces for Fundamental Development) rebel faction, denied the accusation.

 

Cross border tensions

 

Chad’s government has repeatedly accused neighbouring Sudan of supporting the rebels. “The Sudanese are once more arming some Chadians and helping them to destabilise their country…and all of Africa,” said Chadian Ambassador to France Hissein Brahim Taha in an interview with FRANCE 24 on Sunday, before adding that Sudan was responsible for the current crisis “without a measure of doubt”.

 

Reporting from the Sudanese border town of Al Geneina on Monday, FRANCE 24 correspondent Latif Zoheir noted rebel movements between Sudan and Chad. “We have seen several Chadian opposition cars and convoys headed towards Chadian territories,” he said.

 

Zoheir noted that there was a “considerable presence of Sudanese army troops along the borders,” amid fears in Khartoum that some Sudanese opposition figures would take advantage of the confused situation to get into Sudan.

 

Both Chad and Sudan accuse each other of backing insurgents who have attacked both capitals this year.

 

Deby accuses EUFOR of aiding rebels

 

With France, Chad’s former colonial power, reluctant to intervene in the latest Chadian crisis, the embattled Chadian president has also accused the European Union's protection force, EUFOR, of co-operating with rebels.

 

In an address on Chadian TV, Deby said EUFOR was allowing rebels to steal fuel, food and vehicles from humanitarian workers. But in his phone interview with FRANCE 24 from the Chad-Sudan border, Mackaye denied the charge. “Eufor is neutral,” he maintained. “They are here to protect the refugees.”

 

EU forces are stationed in eastern Chad under a UN-mandated peacekeeping mission to protect refugees fleeing the crisis-torn Darfur region in neighboring Sudan.

 

The latest rebel offensive has been condemned by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and the UN Security Council.

 

Humanitarian concerns mount

 

On Monday, United Alliance spokesmen said their troops had seized Am-Zoer near the eastern Chadian city of Abéché, the nerve centre of international humanitarian operations along the Sudanese border.

 

Speaking to FRANCE 24 from N’Djamena Tuesday, Inah Kaloga, communications director for the International Red Cross, said it was hard to get a clear picture of rebel advances in eastern Chad. But there was no doubt, she said, that the situation in the area was grave.  “It’s an insecure environment in which many of these people have been living for years,” said Kaloga. “And now, it has become even more uncertain and less predictable in the past few days.”

 

Date created : 2008-06-17

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