Home | News    Tuesday 10 April 2007

Sudan vows firm response to Chad after clash


April 10, 2007 (KHARTOUM) — Sudan will respond firmly to what it said was an attack by Chadian army forces that killed 17 of its soldiers and military action is an option, an army spokesman said on Tuesday.

Chad said it routed a major rebel attack launched from Sudan on Monday to destabilise its government, but Khartoum accused Chad’s army of killing its troops.

"Sudan’s response will be strong. We will consider all responses, political, diplomatic and military," said the Sudanese army spokesman, who asked not to be named.

The accusations marked a deterioration in the volatile relations between the two central African neighbours, marred by violence spilling across the frontier of Sudan’s Darfur region.

Chadian Information Minister Hourmadji Moussa Doumgor said a convoy of 200 rebel vehicles from Sudan was defeated after attacking army positions in the border village of Aldjirema.

At least eight Chadian soldiers and numerous rebels were killed, he said.

A Chadian presidency official in N’Djamena, who asked not to be identified, denied the army had crossed the border or clashed with Sudanese forces.

It is just two months since Chadian President Idriss Deby and Sudanese leader Omar Hassan al-Bashir signed a non-aggression pact in the Libyan capital Tripoli in an effort to calm rising regional tensions.

Sudan’s foreign ministry spokesman, Ali al-Sadig, accused Chad of violating the agreement.

"We want peaceful relations but our army will remain vigilant to prevent such actions. Chad is clearly escalating problems," he said.

The four-year war in Darfur, which has killed an estimated 200,000 people, has driven hundreds of thousands of refugees into Chad and prompted the United Nations to study a peacekeeping force for the country’s lawless east.

N’Djamena accuses Sudan of supporting Chadian rebels based in Darfur, while Sudanese Arab militia known as "Janjaweed" are raiding ever further into eastern Chad.


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