Chad president accuses Sudan of supporting rebels

Other News Materials 7 February 2008 13:41 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Chadian President Idriss Deby on Thursday told a French radio station that the Sudanese regime had supported the rebel groups that tried to bring down his government this week.

Deby also charged that Sudanese MIG fighter jets had bombarded Chadian positions in support of rebels attacking the eastern city of Adre earlier this week.

"Using mercenaries, the government in Sudan wanted to destabilize Chad," Deby said. He added that Khartoum had a "kind of green light" because "the international community says nothing to Sudan, because the African Union sticks its head in the sand."

"There is no doubt that Sudan will start again," Deby said. Sudan wants "not only to topple Deby, but also beyond Chad there is the entire sub-continent."

Asked if French Mirage fighter jets had intervened in the fighting, as the rebels had claimed, Deby said that the French aircraft had only taken to the sky after Sudanese MIGs had bombed Chadian troops at Adre.

The Chadian president said that France had not intervened militarily in the conflict but had provided important intelligence that helped government troops drive the rebels out of the capital N'Djamena after two days of heavy fighting at the weekend.

He said that the rebels were now more than 600 kilometres from the city and being pursued by government forces.

RFI radio reported Thursday that, according to preliminary Red Cross figures, some 160 civilians were killed in N'Djamena during the conflict, and an estimate 1,000 were injured. No figures had yet been established for the number of combatants killed.

The head of one of the rebel factions, General Mahamat Nouri, told RFI radion on Thursday that they intended to "continue the fight" after regrouping and waiting for reinforcements.