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US warns of new rebel attacks into Chad from Sudan

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Dec 20, 2005 (WASHINGTON) — The United States warned that Chadian rebel groups could launch new attacks against their government’s forces across the Sudanese border after a clash on Sunday that the African country said killed hundreds.

Scores of Chadian soldiers deserted their barracks in late September before regrouping near the border to stage attacks against the government.

The government has accused Sudan of helping the deserters and also using them to fight Sudanese rebels in its eastern region of Darfur.

Chad’s army said on Monday its troops had killed about 300 Chadian rebels after they launched a failed offensive on a border town in one of the worst attacks in an escalating conflict.

The United States has contacts that help it monitor fighting in the region because of its deep diplomatic involvement in seeking to resolve Sudan’s internal conflict in Darfur — an area the size of France that borders Chad.

"There is a strong possibility that attacks by rebel groups will continue, and possibly intensify," the U.S. State Department said in an announcement to American citizens about the dangers in travelling to Chad.

The deserters launched a failed offensive on the Chadian town of Adre on Sunday but were pushed back in fighting that killed more than 300 people, according to the government. The claim could not be independently verified.

The government said its troops chased the rebels back into Sudan and destroyed their bases across the border.

The Chadian deserters, also accused of attacking army bases in the capital N’Djamena, have demanded President Idriss Deby resign.

Deby is from the Zaghawa tribe, which spans both sides of the border and is one of the main Darfur rebel tribes.

The clashes have also raised tensions in Darfur where Sudanese rebels have fought the central government for almost three years.

(Reuters)

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