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SRF rebels say new Chadian troops have arrived in Darfur

April 5, 2014 (KHARTOUM) – The rebel alliance the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) claimed that Chadian troops have been recently deployed in the troubled state of North Darfur and urged to withdraw it.

Since last year, rebels groups in Darfur accuse the neighbouring country of militarily backing the regime of president Omer Al-Bashir. But officials in the two countries speak about a joint force to protect the border.

"The Chadian regime once again dispatched significant troops exceeding hundred vehicles, heavy artillery and armoured vehicles to Sudan’s North Darfur targeting resistance forces and unarmed civilians," said SRF deputy president and head of media department, El-Tom Hajo in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Saturday.

Hajo further warned that such intervention makes Chadian troops a "willing participant" in the "heinous crimes" committed in the region and could be held accountable under the international criminal law.

The leading rebel urged the United Nations, regional and international organisations, humanitarian and rights groups to condemn the Chadian government and to request its withdrawal from the Sudanese territory.

The North Darfur state witnessed last March a wave of violence due to the tribal fighting and clashes between rebels of the Sudan Liberation Movement –Minni Minnawi and government forces.

Chad has been the most affected country in the region by the 11-year insurgency in Darfur due to different factors including tribal links from both sides of border.

After years of tumultuous relationship with his old friend Omer Al-Bashir, president Idriss Deby agreed with the latter in January 2010 to stop support to rebel groups from both sides and to deploy a joint force along the border to prevent cross-border attacks.

Since Deby also seeks to use tribal links to persuade Darfurian groups to negotiate a political agreement with Khartoum. He facilitated a peace deal struck in April 2013 between the Sudanese government and a dissident faction from the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

Besides hosting the tribal forum for peace in Darfur in the border town of Um Jaras, he is also reportedly undertaking contacts with the non-signatory rebels who belong to the his ethnic group, Zaghawa in a bid to facilitate an agreement between the warring parties.

(ST)