Chad warned to protect civilians in street battles

Other News Materials 5 February 2008 15:48 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - Warring sides battling for the Chadian capital N'Djamena at the weekend, which left scores of civilians injured, must not place ordinary Chadians at risk, an international advocacy group said Tuesday.

New York-based Human Rights Watch urged the government, which had engaged in the street fighting with rebels, to ensure any helicopter or tank attacks on rebel positions ensure civilians remain safe.

"The laws of war oblige all parties to a conflict to give effective advance warning of attacks that affect the civilian population. Warring parties must take all feasible precautions to minimize harm to civilians," said a statement by the group.

Since the clashes, which saw the rebels leave the capital in a tactical retreat, thousands of people have fled over the border to Cameroon.