Home | News    Friday 13 February 2004

Chad denies any involvement in Darfour crisis

NDJAMENA, Feb 13, (AFP) — The Chadian authorities on Friday denied any involvement in the deepening crisis in the African region of Darfour in western Sudan which has devastated the lives off up to one million people.

A rebel movement in Darfour had on Thursday accused the Chadian government of taking sides in the conflict, accusing it of granting the Sudanese army access to its airspace and territory.

"Chad is not involved in the Sudano-Sudanese crisis and Chad has not authorised anyone to use its air space or its territory," Chadian government spokesman Moctar Wawa Dahab told AFP.

"As a consequence I formally deny these unfounded and erroneous accusations," he said.

About 3,000 people have been killed and another 670,000 displaced within Sudan itself by the war between government troops and their Arab militia allies and rebels drawn mainly from the region’s non-Arab minorities.

About 100,000 Sudanese are estimated to have fled across the border into Chad because of the rebellion that erupted a year ago over the Darfur region’s alleged economic neglect by the government.

The allegations against the Chadian authorities were made by the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

"Since the beginning of hostilities in this region we have encouraged dialogue between Sudanese brothers, and the president of the republic (of Chad, Idriss Deby) has personally offered his services to restore peace to the region," the spokesman added.

The denial came as Sudanese Interior Minister Abderahim Mahamat Hisseine met Deby in Ndjamena to discuss the conflict.

"We have come to tell president Idriss Deby exactly what the situation is in Sudan," said Hisseine after the meeting.

"The Sudanese government is indeed in control of the Darfour region and it is now completely secured," he said.