Home | News    Friday 28 April 2006

"Unidentified" planes drop Chadian rebels in Central Africa


April 27, 2006 (BANGUI) — Two aircraft each carrying around 50 armed men suspected of links to a rebellion in neighbouring Chad have landed illegally in Central African Republic’s lawless north, a senior official said on Thursday.

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CAR President François Bozizi and Sudanese president Omar El Beshir in Khartoum during a press conference on Wednesday, December 3, 2003.

Rebels who have vowed to oust Chad’s President Idriss Deby before May 3 elections used Central African Republic as a staging post from which to launch an assault on the capital N’Djamena this month and some analysts fear another attack.

Jean-Francis Bozize, chief of staff for the Central African Republic’s defence minister and the son of President Francois Bozize, told Reuters the former French colony’s army had intensified patrols in the border region with Chad.

The French military had been asked to provide intelligence on the movements of the suspected rebels, Bozize added.

The CAR Ministry of Defence said that the Central African Republic gave its total support to the president the Chadian people elected democratically and did not want to allow itself to be drawn into this conflict.

The Central African Republic closed its borders with the Sudan after noticing that its territory was used by the Chadian rebels on several occasions to fight the Chadian government forces.

Bozize said the first plane, an Antonov, had landed near the village of Tiroungoulou close to the Chad border on Tuesday, dropping 50 armed men, while a second flight carrying a similar number of men and equipment had landed there on Wednesday.

"We have intensified our patrols in the zone, we’ve informed the military police to try to get more information, and we have also asked the French armed forces to make their intelligence means available to us," Bozize said.

The rebels who attacked N’Djamena on April 13 failed in their attempt to oust Deby, attacking the country’s national assembly building instead of the presidential palace, but residents fear they will try again.

Some of them entered Chad from their base in Sudan via Central African Republic, officials have said.


Central African Republic’s remote north is awash with armed groups. Some are raiders who randomly storm villages to loot homes, others are believed to have a political agenda, seeking to settle old grievances against President Bozize.

Bozize himself seized power in March 2003 with the help of armed recruits from Chad, some of whom are said to have turned against him after later being expelled from the country.

"We believe that there is a complicity between the two rebellions (against Chad and Central African Republic)," Jean-Francis Bozize said.

"It is particularly worrying given that (Chadian rebels) have used our territory before," he said.

An African Union delegation investigating Sudan’s role in the April 13 assault on N’Djamena has uncovered evidence of participation by insurgents from the Central African Republic in the attack.

One Central African rebel commander testified to AU diplomats at the weekend that he had travelled to Khartoum, together with other leaders of a Central African rebel group, to be recruited for the failed raid on the Chadian capital.

He said Chadian rebel leader Mahamat Nour had promised equipment and aid in return for their support, because he lacked experienced military commanders to lead his young fighters.

Chad’s President Deby — who is standing for a third term in elections on May 3 — accuses Sudan of backing the rebels and says Khartoum attacked his country in a drive to export what he called its fundamentalist system to sub-Saharan Africa.

Sudan denies backing the insurgents.


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