Home | News    Tuesday 29 November 2005

Deby lobs fresh ’destabilisation’ charges at Sudan

Nov 28, 2005 (NDJAMENA) — Sudan continues to provide arms and logistical support to Chadian rebels, despite several appeals by the Chadian government, President Idriss Deby said on Monday.

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Idriss Deby

"We have proof. The Sudanese government has armed [rebels], put vehicles at their disposal, given them logistics and communications materials," Deby told Radio France Internationale.

"The Sudanese government is complicit."

Deby said a group of Chadian rebels is based inside Sudan, about 200 kilometres from the border.

"We have officially requested of the Sudanese government the right [to pursue the rebels]. The government refused."

Deby, an army officer turned president, has long faced dissension within his armed forces.

In October he overhauled his presidential guard days after an undetermined number of soldiers deserted their posts in the capital, N’djamena, and fled to the volatile east. And earlier this month Deby reshuffled officers in top military posts.

Deby said on Monday that some of the deserters - calling themselves SCUD for ’Platform for Change, National Unity and Democracy’ - were involved in a plot to topple him in May 2004.

But he dismissed SCUD as an insignificant movement.

"It’s a short-lived venture - a minor group," Deby said.

SCUD’s self-proclaimed leader, Yaya Dilo Djerou, has said the group numbers over 700.

Deby said any effort to undermine the government would be put down.

"Any action that would threaten the country’s institutions would be fought off in the strongest manner possible."

Earlier this year Deby accused Sudan of supporting a 3000-strong rebel force.

The Sudanese embassy in N’djamena could not be reached for comment on Deby’s latest claims as Monday was a national holiday.

Eastern Chad abuts Sudan’s troubled Darfur region. The two year-old Darfur conflict has often spilled over into Chad and has Deby in a thorny position.

Deby initially took power in 1990 with Sudan’s backing, later winning presidential elections in 1996 and 2001. A member of the Zaghawa ethnic group, he has often come under attack from Chadian soldiers of the same group for not doing more to help their Sudanese kinsmen fight government forces and allied militia in Darfur.

Last week the Sudanese government accused Chad of supporting rebels in Darfur.

Deby on Monday denied the charge, saying, "We have never taken any action to destabilise Sudan. On the other hand, I have asked [Sudanese president] General el-Bashir directly to do everything possible to avoid destabilising Chad."

Deby’s remarks to RFI come two days after the Chadian government reportedly issued then withdrew a communique about an attack by rebels in eastern Chad. The government said rebels attacked near the town of Guereda and stole a vehicle and some arms, media sources said.

But Communications Minister Moussa Hourmadji Doumgor told IRIN on Monday there had been no attack or communique.

"Nothing at all happened," he said. "There has been no communique by the government."

An opposition website ran a story on 27 November apparently quoting a SCUD statement, saying that deserters had attacked government forces in Guereda at the weekend, with "considerable human and material loss," but offering no precise numbers.

Deby put the yoke of responsibility on Sudan, closing his remarks to RFI with, "I hope that in the framework of a dialogue between neighbours, of the African Union, we find a solution by which Sudan spares Chad destabilisation."