Home | News    Saturday 11 March 2006

Chad sacks 70 army officers after defections

Mar 10, 2006 (NDJAMENA) — Chad’s President Idriss Deby on Friday sacked 70 army officers who have deserted over recent months, taking refuge in Sudan’s violent Darfur region and joining insurgents bent on ousting him.

Deby said in a presidential decree that two generals, Sedi Aguid and Ishaq al-Diar and four colonels were among those dismissed. The two generals, who quit the army last month, were the most high-profile defectors so far.

"They will not have the right to a pension, nor to a reintegration payment nor to any sort of compensation whatsoever," the decree said.

A large group of army officers, including members of Deby’s family, deserted in September. They took refuge over the border in Darfur and later joined an alliance of nine Chadian guerrilla groups, the United Front for Democratic Change (FUC), which says it has thousands of well-armed troops along the border.

The rebels attacked the Chadian border town of Adre in December, prompting Deby to accuse its eastern neighbour, Sudan, of supporting the guerrillas. N’Djamena then declared a "state of belligerence" with Khartoum.

Libya, which has good relations with both countries, hosted a summit in Tripoli last month to try to ease tensions. Both sides agreed to ban rebels from establishing bases, although the remote border area is largely unsupervised.

Chad accused Sudan on Wednesday of backing a cross-border raid by militia fighters this week, the first such attack since the Tripoli meeting. Sudan denies supporting insurgents.

(Reuters)