N’DJAMENA, Chad, Apr 11, 2005 (AP) — Chad has suspended efforts to mediate in the bloody conflict in Sudan ‘s western Darfur region, and will only resume its role in the talks after Sudan dismantles a Chadian rebellion based in that country, a presidential spokesman said in a newspaper interview.
Officials Friday accused Sudan of recruiting, training and arming 3,000 Chadian rebels near their border in an effort to destabilize Chad.
“If the government of Sudan cares to preserve the brotherly relation that binds our two nations, let it quickly begin dismantling these armed groups in its territory against Chad,” presidential spokesman Abderahmane Khoulamallah said in a newspaper report published Monday.
“As long as these measures are not taken, there is no way for Chad to pursue its mediation in the inter-Sudanese conflict,” he told Le Progres newspaper.
Chad’s President Idriss Deby, senior aides and African Union officials have mediated talks seeking to end the Darfur conflict.
The crisis broke out two years ago when rebels in the region took up arms against Sudan ‘s government. Since then, the conflict has killed 180,000 people, mainly from war-induced hunger and disease, according to U.N. estimates.
The Darfur insurgents draw support from the Zaghawa, Fur and Masalit tribes, which live on both sides of the border. The African tribesmen rebelled against what they regarded as unjust treatment by the Sudanese government in their struggle over land and resources with Arab countrymen.
Sudan has previously accused Chad of backing Darfur rebels, who mainly come from Deby’s Zaghawa tribe. Darfur rebels have operated from Chad.
The insurgency triggered a rampage by pro-government Arab militiamen accused of atrocities against civilians. Tens of thousands of Darfur refugees have streamed into Chad to escape the violence and poverty.