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Chad urges UN to stem spread of Darfur conflict

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Dec 22, 2005 (UNITED NATIONS) — Chad accused neighboring Sudan on Thursday of trying to draw it into the civil war in Sudan’s Darfur region and urged the U.N. Security Council to help prevent the conflict from spreading.

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Idriss Deby

Chad’s U.N. Ambassador Mahamat Ali Adoum, in a letter to the 15-nation council, also called on the Sudanese authorities "to call a halt to this sinister enterprise," warning that a further escalation of the war "would adversely affect both countries as well as the subregion."

Fighting in Sudan’s western Darfur region has raged since February 2003 when rebels took up arms against the government, accusing them of ignoring their concerns. The government dispatched militias to help fight the revolt but those militias have been accused of widespread looting, murder and rape.

More than 2 million people have fled their homes in the face of the violence and moved into crowded refugee camps, including some 300,000 sheltered in Chad.

The situation in Darfur has deteriorated markedly in recent months despite peace talks taking place in Nigeria between rebels and the government.

The United Nations has grounded some aid flights and evacuated some relief workers, despite efforts by African Union peacekeepers to quell the violence and protect civilians.

The growing cross-border tensions with Chad are now further complicating the situation in Darfur.

Chad’s government said this week its army repulsed two attacks in recent days by rebels opposed to Chadian President Idriss Deby.

Following the attacks on the eastern border town of Adre, Chadian troops pursued the rebels over the border into Sudan and destroyed their bases there, killing 300, the government said, accusing Sudan of supporting the attackers.

Chadian rebels said on Wednesday they were poised for a fresh attack on Adre, and Chad radio accused a Sudanese militia of deadly raids on nearby villages.

"Without doubt, the objective of the Sudanese government (in supporting the Chadian rebels) is to involve Chad in a way which is not of its own making," Adoum said. This was "paradoxical" in light of Chad’s sheltering of Sudanese refugees and its efforts to mediate in the Darfur conflict.

The Security Council on Wednesday issued a statement condemning the attacks on Adre and endorsing efforts to reduce tensions along the border.

(Reuters)

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