April 15, 2006 (N’DJAMENA) — Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno on Saturday accused his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Beshir of "genocide" in Darfur and branded him a "traitor", a day after severing diplomatic ties with Khartoum.
- Idriss Deby
"I have asked all the big powers, the African Union, the United Nations, the European Union, all nations who love peace and justice to intervene militarily to save the people of Darfur who are victims of the most terrible genocide carried out by President Beshir," he told supporters in N’Djamena.
It was Deby’s most vitriolic attack on al-Beshir since he accused Sudan of fomenting a coup to oust him after rebels launched a major offensive on the Chadian capital on Thursday.
He urged the international community to make Darfur, a region in western Sudan that has been wracked by ethnic conflict since 2003, a UN protectorate.
"The international community must face up to all its responsibilities to resolve the crisis in Darfur and place Darfur under UN protection," he said.
Deby told a crowd of several thousand supporters: "You have shown the international community and the traitors to the national cause that you are not ready to allow your country to be occupied by mercenaries sent by that traitor Beshir."
The Chadian leader, who is fighting for his political life after almost 16 years in power, also referred to al-Bashir in Arabic as "a donkey".
Deby had his supporters observe a minute’s silence for soldiers who were killed in fighting with rebels from the United Front for Change (FUC) on Thursday.
According to the government, about 30 soldiers and 370 rebels died in clashes in the capital.
After the attack, Chad accused Sudan of backing and arming the rebels.
Sudan denied the allegations but Chad on Friday announced it was breaking off diplomatic relations with Khartoum and threatened to expel 200,000 refugees from the Darfur conflict who are living in camps in eastern Chad.
A spokesman for the Sudanese foreign ministry on Saturday said Sudan’s top diplomat in Chad has been given five days to leave the country.
Chad and Sudan on February 8 signed an accord in which they agreed not to shelter rebels on their respective territory and not to conduct hostile activities against each other.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan’s special representative to Sudan, Jan Pronk, on Saturday urged the two countries to resolve their escalating dispute for the good of the region.