Chad accuses Sudan of armed incursion


Chad has accused neighbouring Sudan of sending armed groups into the east of the country.

The charge comes just hours after the two countries struck a deal to halt violence against each other.

France said reports suggested armed groups had begun crossing into Chad on Monday and it was checking how many gunmen there were and their exact position.

Chad and Sudan resumed shaky diplomatic ties in November after cutting them in May.

Khartoum had accused Chadian President Idriss Deby of involvement in an attack on the Sudanese capital by Darfur rebels on May 11, 2008.

Both countries have long accused each other of supporting insurgent groups and rebel attacks inside their territories, Reuters adds.

“While the ink on the Doha accord was not yet dry, Khartoum sent several armed columns into our country. In launching this programmed aggression against Chad, the Sudanese regime has reneged on its signature in Doha,” said Chad‘s government spokesman Mahamat Hissene.

Sudan denied any of its forces were on Chadian territory and said it was totally committed to the agreement signed in Doha on Monday to halt hostilities and refrain from the use of force.

“I reiterate the Sudanese government’s and the Sudanese army’s affirmation that no incursion has occurred by the Sudanese forces into Chadian lands,” said Ali Youssef Ahmed, head of protocol at Sudan‘s Foreign Ministry.

“What is happening now are battles between Chadian opposition (rebels) and Chadian government forces within Chad‘s borders,” he said.

France‘s Foreign Ministry yesterday said it was following events in the east of its former colony with “great concern”.

“We understand that armed groups penetrated into Chad‘s territory from Sudan,” Foreign Ministry spokemsan Eric Chevallier said.

“It seems that these armed groups went several tens of kilometres into Chadian territory. We are checking information on the exact position, volume, etc.”

So far, there have not been any reports of clashes between Chadian rebels and government forces.