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Sudan masses rebels to attack - Chadian statement

April 9, 2008 (NDJAMENA) — Chad said today that Sudan is massing thousands of rebel troops on the joint border to attack its army, adding that Khartoum government intends to destabilise the whole region

Idriss Deby

Yesterday the Sudanese Presidential Assistant, Nafi Ali Nafi accused Chad to providing troops to fight besides the rebel Justice and Equality Movement affirming the readiness of the Sudanese army to repel the assailants.

"The Ministry of National Defence wishes to inform national and international opinion that once again, the regime of Omer al Bashir, in its determination to destabilize Chad, is massing, training and the heavily arming thousands of its mercenaries at the border in eastern Chad to launch in the next few days of attacks against the positions of our defence forces and security." said Defence Minister Mahamat Ali Abdallah.

The Chadian presidency website where the statement of the defence minister is published seems more and more to an opposition website against Khartoum, every week there is one or two communiqués on Sudanese government.

Last week the Chadian presidency published a text of a telephone conversation attributed to the head of Sudanese secret service, Salah Gosh, where he asks the head of the Chadian rebels to topple Deby regime as soon as possible.

Also, there is a text representing the confession of a Sudanese army officer where he admits having worked in hiring janjaweed militias and Chadian "mercenaries" to torpedo N’Djamena government, a picture of the Sudanese officer with bag full of money Sudan, also published with the text.

Defence minister statement was issued on the eve of a first session by a contact group tasked to implement a March 13 Dakar agreement to end the five-year conflict between the two African neighbours.

US, French, United Nations, European Union and African Union representatives were also expected to attend.

Chad regretted the silence of the international community, warning that Sudanese al-Bashir plans do not aim only to destabilise Chad "but also the entire region of Central Africa in line with an Islamic expansionism that does not speak its name," the minister’s statement said.

However the Chadian government said "it reserves the right to use all legal means in its possession to defend the integrity of its national territory and protect its people against attacks mercenaries of Khartoum."

The latest accusations come a week after fighting betweeen the Chadian army and Chadian rebels in the east of the country.

The Dakar pact on the sidelines of a summit of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference was the outcome of strong international pressure on both leaders to end the five-year intermittent conflict.

An alliance of three rebel groups attacked Ndjamena over the weekend of February 2-3 after sweeping across the desert from bases in Sudan. They were driven out by Deby’s troops with indirect military support from former colonial master France.

All rebel groups that participated in the offensive had signed a peace deal with the government last October.

(ST)