Government blames Sudan after border attack

Chad’s president Idriss Deby has blamed neighbouring Sudan for a weekend border attack and claimed the right to pursue the insurgents into Sudanese territory.

According to the Chadian government, some 100 people -- mostly rebel insurgents -- died after government forces repelled an attack on military barracks in Adre on Chad’s eastern border with Sudan, early Sunday morning.

“The government holds the Sudanese government wholly responsible for this morning's attack, mounted from its territory,” said Communications Minister Hourmadji Moussa Doumgor in a statement.

Chadian “government forces are now using their right of pursuit to ward off any further threat” against the eastern border town of Adre, he added.

An IRIN correspondent in the eastern town of Abeche, over 600 kilometres east of the capital Ndjamena and 150 kilometres from Adre, confirmed that an attack had taken place but could not confirm casualties.

The Sudanese government has denied any involvement in the attack.

Opposition to Deby’s rule has come from within the ranks of his own armed forces with a series of desertions by troops, including more this month, who are demanding he quit power.

The deserters have joined the growing ranks of rebels operating in the country’s remote east, from where they launch attacks on loyalist military barracks, including in the capital N’djamena.

According to the Chadian government, this weekend’s attack was mounted by a group of army deserters who joined the recently formed rebel group, the Rally for Democracy and Liberty.

Deby, a member of the Zaghawa ethnic group, lost favour with Chadian soldiers of the same group for not doing more to help their Sudanese kinsmen fight government forces and militia in Darfur.

The Darfur conflict erupted in February 2003 when the rebels, including fighters from the Zaghawa group, took up arms to fight what they described as "discrimination and oppression" by the Sudanese government.

Hundreds of thousands of Sudanese refugees have sought shelter in eastern Chad. The Chadian government claims their camps are used as a recruiting ground for rebels.

Talks to resolve the Darfur conflict last month entered a seventh round in the Nigerian capital Abuja, but initial progress withered when rebel representatives, without warning, upped the ante and demanded the vice presidency.