Home | News    Wednesday 19 April 2006

Darfur rebel JEM briefly occupy Sudan embassy in Chad

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April 18, 2006 (N’DJAMENA) — A group of Sudanese rebels opposed to the Khartoum government briefly occupied Sudan’s embassy in Chad on Tuesday but were ejected by Chadian security forces, the foreign ministry said.

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Khalil Ibrahim of JEM

The rebels from the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM), one of the insurgent groups fighting in Sudan’s Darfur region, entered the building after Chad broke its diplomatic relations with Sudan and ordered its diplomats out.

Chad and Sudan accuse each other of backing rebels opposed to their respective governments. The crisis has deepened after Chadian rebels attacked the capital N’Djamena last week, an assault which Chad’s President Idriss Deby has blamed on Sudan.

"A group of Sudanese rebels from the JEM occupied the embassy this morning and the security forces evicted them," Chad’s Foreign Minister Ahmat Allam-Mi told Reuters.

"Now there is a procedure for expelling them from the country either to Darfur or to Abuja (where Darfur peace talks are being held)," Allam-Mi said. "They have abused our hospitality. It was an unacceptable act."

JEM leader Khalil Ibrahim earlier said he had taken control of the embassy.

"We are speaking from within the embassy of Sudan," he told Reuters in Cairo by telephone. "It’s under my full control."

Abdoul Rahman Zuma, a member of Sudanese government delegation in Abuja, said the rebels had attacked the embassy and that they had stolen equipment including mobile phones.

"They assaulted the building and attacked the chargé d’affaires ... Then the Libyan authorities came to the embassy and took control. They’ve raised the Libyan flag on the embassy because they are representing Sudanese interests," he said.

Libya had been trying to defuse tensions between its two southern neighbours. Deby on Tuesday accused Sudan of attacking his country as part of a campaign to export its fundamentalist system to sub-Saharan Africa.

(Reuters)

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