Home | News    Monday 19 December 2005

Chad clash kills 300 rebels, 6 soldiers - official

Dec 19, 2005 (N’DJAMENA) — Government forces took control of the border town Adre after a gun fight left more than 300 rebels and six soldiers dead, a government minister said Monday.

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A soldier of the Chad National Army patrols the wadi Tine, the empty bed of a seasonal river that marks the border between Tine Chad and Tine Sudan, in 2004. (AFP).

The town, some 1,000 kilometers east of the capital N’djamena, was under government control, Communication Minister Hourmadji Moussa said. It was impossible to get independent verification about the incident, which happened Sunday.

The rebels were apparently made up of deserters from Chad’s army who have regrouped in the eastern part of the country near the border with Sudan’s volatile Darfur region. The rebel soldiers have been joined by former high-ranking government officials, among them two nephews of President Idriss Deby.

The rebel soldiers and former high-ranking government officials have formed the Foundation for Change, Unity and Democracy that reportedly seeks to overthrow Deby, although its aims aren’t clear.

Jean-Marie Fakhouri, head of operations in Chad for the U.N. High Commission on Refugees said they were concerned about developments, because fighting in the east could disrupt attempts to help the 230,000 Sudanese refugees who fled Darfur.

"Eastern Chad is a desert. You don’t even have one shrub. If there’s insecurity, people are going to die," Fakhouri said from the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. "You can’t talk about eastern Chad without talking about Darfur. These two areas have the same tribes. People keep going back and forth."

Last month, African Union Commission Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare expressed concern the unrest in eastern Chad was a threat to regional security.

Since October there have been intermittent clashes between the Foundation for Change, Unity and Democracy and Chad’s army and at times the rebel soldiers have crossed into Sudan to escape army attacks.

(AP/ST)