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Chad rebels say Sudan asked them to leave

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May 10, 2009 (PARIS) — Chad’s rebels said they moved inside the eastern part of their country because Sudan told them to evacuate their bases in the troubled region of Darfur and to leave the country.

"Based on the Doha agreement signed with the Chadian government, the Sudanese government asked us to leave our bases in Sudanese territory," Acheikh Ibni Oumar, the Union of Resistance Forces (UFR) representative in Europe told Sudan Tribune.

The rebel representative further said all they had done was move inside Chad to draw the attention of the international community to the existing political crisis in the country and the need to pressure President Idriss Deby to implement democratic reforms.

"We didn’t attack the Chadian army but we were attacked" he further underscored.

In reconciliation talks brokered by Qatar and Libya, Sudan and Chad agreed on May 3 to normalize relations and to build confidence in order to ease the current tension between the two neighbouring countries.

The Chadian rebels moved from Darfur into eastern Chad on May 5 two days after the signing of the Doha deal.

Ibni Oumar, who admitted they were supported by the Sudanese government, said they initially arrived into Darfur on the request of the Chadian government and in accordance with the Sirte agreement between the Chadian government and the opposition forces.

According to the Sirte agreement of 25 October 2007, brokered by Libya and Sudan, Khartoum had to host the Chadian rebels ahead of integrating them into Chad’s national army. However, a tripartite committee from Sudan, Libya and Chad has never met to monitor the implementation of this issue.

Already in 2006, Chad had accused Sudan of harbouring the rebels, and following the failure of Tripoli agreement between Sudan and Chad, Libya sought to contain the conflict by convincing the Chadian rebels to negotiate with President Deby.

The rebel official said the aim of their military move last Tuesday was to force the Chadian government to reengage in talks with them in order to negotiate a political solution with them – though other rebel figures acknowledge that the objective of the offensive is to capture the capital Ndjamena. He added that there is a political crisis and Chad’s international partners have to put pressure on President Deby to negotiate with them.

He further said they have contacts with the French government who admit the need for political reform in Chad. "But Paris has failed to persuade him (Deby) to undertake a democratic reform, and this means the failure of the French policy in Chad" he added.

The UFR official also acknowledged that they were defeated by the government army but he said they destroyed a small column, asserting that the major part of their force remains intact.

The Chadian government says 225 rebels and 22 soldiers were killed in two days of clashes on Thursday and Friday south of Abéché.

Acting Chadian Defense Minister Adoum Younousmi said the rebels were finished, saying: "They will take two or three years to rebuild."

(ST)

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