Sunday, April 15, 2007

Chad: Rebels driven back after attack on troops

Source: CNN.
April 9, 2007.

N'DJAMENA, Chad (Reuters) -- Chad said it had routed an attack Monday by a rebel convoy of more than 200 vehicles launched from Sudanese territory, just two months after a nonaggression pact signed by the two countries.

Information Minister Hourmadji Moussa Doumgor said in a statement the rebel forces had been routed after attacking army troops in the border village of Aldjirema. At least eight Chadian soldiers and numerous rebels were killed, he said.

"Chad expects the international community to unequivocally condemn this enemy aggression led from Sudan against Chad and take appropriate measures to compel the Sudanese government to abandon its expansionist plans to destabilize Chad," Doumgor said.

The rebel Chadian National Concord, in a statement signed by its military commander, Mahamad Hassan Kokiss, confirmed heavy fighting had taken place but said government forces had attacked its troops first.

"After six hours of resistance, our forces redeployed to new positions, and the enemy remains within our reach," Kokiss said, saying the fighting violated an agreement signed in the Libyan capital, Tripoli.

Chad had signed a peace deal with another rebel group in Tripoli in December and a nonaggression pact with Sudan there in February. It was not immediately clear whether Kokiss was referring to either of these.

President Idriss Deby's government said exact casualty figures for the rebel forces were not yet available but 38 of their vehicles were destroyed in the attack.

The Chadian National Concord said the rebels had lost three vehicles and 10 men, while destroying 35 government vehicles and killing numerous soldiers.

Doumgor said the convoy was made up of forces from several rebel groups, including the Union of Forces for Democracy and Development of Mahamat Nouri and the Rally of Democratic Forces led by Tom and Timan Erdimi, nephews of Deby.

The four-year war in Sudan's western region of Darfur has spilled across the border into Chad.

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

Khartoum has denied any support for Chadian insurgents.

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