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Chadian troops cross into Darfur heading to rebel positions: JEM

May 14, 2013 (LONDON) - The Justice and Equality movement (JEM) said Chadian troops have crossed the border into Darfur region and warned president Idris Deby from the consequences of his involvement in the Sudanese conflict.

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Chadian soldiers hold up their weapons as they cheer next to tanks and army vehicles ahead of their deployment in Mali, on January 30, 2013. (photo Reuters/ Alain Amontchi)

JEM spokesperson Gibreel Adam Bilal told Sudan Tribune that Chadian soldiers left their basis in Abéché on Monday and are now heading into the positions of JEM combatants in North Darfur.

He called on the African Union United Nation Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) to keep away these troops and force it to return back to Chad, warning of dire consequences should Chad insist on continuing its aggressive approach.

"If they don’t [withdraw] then the Justice and Equality Movement is prepared to engage in war with Chad which will complicate security and humanitarian situation in Darfur more than how it already is", Bilal said.

Following the killing of the leader of a dissident faction Mohamed Bashar and his deputy Suleiman Arko last Sunday, his group accused JEM of attacking his convoy inside the Chadian territory. But the Sudanese rebels said they clashed with the splinters inside Darfur.

Deby facilitated the peace talks between the dissident group and the Sudanese government. The two parties signed a peace agreement in Doha on 6 April.

On the other hand, relations between the Chadian president and JEM deteriorated since three years ago when Ndjamena barred the entry of Khalil Ibrahim in May 2010, late leader of the rebel group, and prevented him from crossing into Darfur.

When Ibrahim was killed in December 2011 after his return from Libya different reports speculated that foreign countries were involved in his assassination, but JEM refused to accuse any side.

However, JEM spokesperson accused on Tuesday the Chadian president of taking part in this operation saying "We disclose for the first time that Idriss Deby participated with the Sudanese government and other regional partners in the assassination of Dr. Khalil".

Bilal added they have intelligence confirming that the Chadian president plans to assassinate the leaders of the Justice and Equality Movement and warned they will "hold Idriss Deby responsible for the assassination of any of JEM leaders in the coming days".

The rebel official further accused Deby of being involved in the war crimes committed in Darfur region during the past years, stressing they have evidences proving this accusation.

He further vowed to work with human rights activists to provide all these evidences to the International Criminal Court.

The chairperson of the African Union Commission Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma condemned on Monday the killing of Mohamed Bashar terming it as a "cowardly act, aimed at dissuading the hold out groups in Darfur from joining the peace process."

JEM political secretary, Suleiman Sandal, in separate statements to Sudan Tribune slammed Dlamini-Zuma statements saying the regional body had to investigate the circumstances of the incident before to issue such "partial statements".

He expressed JEM readiness to explain its position on the conditions of the incident.

Sandal asserted that Bashar and his fighters returned from Chad equipped with vehicles and weapons provided by the Chadian president to attack them.

He added that JEM combatants repulsed an attack carried by the splinter group inside the Sudanese etrritory, insisting that Bashar and his deputy were killed during the clashes.

Regarding the other members of Bashar group that JEM holds since Sunday, Sundal pointed out they will be tried before JEM courts.

"They are not prisoners of war as it is said they are members of our movement and will be tried for treason and disloyalty", he added.

Sandal underscored that the leaders of the splinter group had been arrested in the past for attempting to assassinate the founder and late leader Khalil Ibrahim when he had being in Libya but were released after a pardon by the current leader Gibril Ibrahim.

(ST)