Home | News    Thursday 16 November 2006

Sudan seeks to install allied regimes in C. Africa - Chad

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Nov 15, 2006 (ADDIS ABABA) — The government of Chad appealed to the African Union for help to secure its border with neighboring Sudan, accusing Khartoum of seeking to destabilize the whole of central Africa, in a bid to install pro-Sudanese regimes there.

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Idriss Deby

"The government of Sudan has managed to export the Darfur crisis to Chad by means of a cleverly orchestrated crisis," Chad said in a document to the AU.

"Since November 4, 2006, clashes between different communities have spread through all our regions bordering Sudan. Curiously, they just happen to involve the same communities that are conducting the scorched earth policy against certain non-armed communities in Darfur," the government said in its document, which was examined by the AU’s Peace and Security Council on Wednesday.

Eastern Chad, which borders Sudan’s war-torn Darfur region, has seen a wave of violence this month. Witnesses say Arab horsemen have raided and torched villages whose inhabitants are mostly of black African descent, killing roughly 300 people.

On Monday the government in N’Djamena declared a state of emergency covering much of the country, in response to the ethnic violence and to a brief clash in the east late last month between the army and a rebel alliance. The government accuses Sudan of backing the rebels, who are seeking to overthrow Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno.

In its complaint to the AU, Chad accused the Arab regime in Khartoum of also seeking to foment violence in the Central African Republic, which lies to the south of Darfur.

It accused Sudan of "seeking deliberately to destabilize Chad and the entire central African sub-region in a bid to install pro-Sudanese regimes there."

Chad urged the AU to help with the urgent deployment of a joint Chadian-Sudanese force to secure their common border, composed of 1,000 soldiers from each side.

It was not immediately clear whether it was seeking financial, military or diplomatic assistance from the pan-African organisation.

N’Djamena also requested "the deployment, without delay, of a civilian force of 250-300 police officers from African countries and/or members of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) to ensure security in refugee camps in Chad."

There are more than 20,000 Sudanese refugees in Chad, many from Darfur. Pro-Khartoum forces have been accused of entering Chad to pursue the refugees and the United Nations is considering deploying a police force to protect them.

Khartoum, which accuses Chad of supporting rebel groups inside Sudan, said on Wednesday evening that it was in favour of deploying "an observer force."

Sudanese Vice President Ali Osman Mohamed Taha dismissed France’s suggestion of deploying a United Nations force to the border, saying it would "interfere with the work of the African force" in Darfur.

Khartoum has also persistently blocked UN efforts to send a 20,000-strong international force to Darfur to take over peacekeeping from cash-strapped and ill-equipped African Union troops who have failed to halt the bloodshed there.

On Tuesday, Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso, the current AU president, backed the French proposal to send an international force to maintain security along Sudan’s borders with its neighbours.

The escalating violence in Chad and the nearly four-year civil war in Darfur are expected to be discussed on Thursday at a high-level meeting sponsored by the UN and the AU in Addis Ababa.

It is due to be attended by UN secretary general Kofi Annan and representatives from the five permanent members of the Security Council — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — alongside the Arab League, the European Union, Congo, Gabon and Egypt.

(AFP)

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