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Friday, February 01, 2008

Chad Peace Plan Appears to be in Ruins

The BBC's Stephanie Hancock in Ndjamena says that after some of the heaviest fighting seen in the country in several years, the ceasefire is now effectively dead in the water

Rally of Forces for Change (RFC)
  • The RFC said its positions had been bombed by Chadian helicopters on Saturday, raising fears that a major ground battle could soon take place.
  • A spokesman for the RFC, Id Moura Maide, told the AFP news agency that the fighting had begun when Chadian military helicopters attacked one of the group's bases in the area.
  • Saturday, Chadian Foreign Minister Ahmat Allami said RFC rebel forces led by Timan Erdimi had clashed with government forces around Kalait, some 210km (130 miles) north of Abeche.
The UFDD
  • There have been days of fierce fighting east of Abeche between Chad's army and the UFDD, during which the government said several hundred rebels had died.
  • On Friday, the UFDD also said it had declared war against the French-led 3,500-strong European Union peacekeeping force which is due to be deployed in Chad in January to protect refugees from Sudan's Darfur region.
  • The rebels accused French military planes of flying over their positions and passing intelligence to the government during last week's fighting. French President Nicolas Sarkozy has insisted the declaration would not jeopardise the EU mission.
  • The UFDD said it had broken the ceasefire because the government failed to honour the peace agreement brokered by Libya in March.
  • The clashes follow days of fierce fighting east of Abeche between Chad's army and the UFDD, during which the government said several hundred rebels had died.
  • The largest of the rebel groups, the UFDD, is led by Mahamat Nouri, a former government minister and diplomat who defected from the government in April 2006, accusing Deby of corruption, and launched an armed rebellion.
  • Nouri is thought to have relocated to Sudan in 2007.
  • Deby's government regularly accuses Sudan of supporting the UFDD rebels, who are largely drawn from their chief Nouri's Gorane ethnic group.
  • Khartoum has repeatedly denied Deby's allegations, and has in turn accused Chad of backing rebel groups fighting the Sudanese government in Darfur.

United Front for Change (Fuc) rebel coalition

References

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