CHAD: Rebels admit ‘friendly’ ties with Sudan but deny receiving support
Chad President Idriss Deby
DAKAR, 18 January 2006 (IRIN) - A Chadian rebel leader on Wednesday said insurgents seeking to oust President Idriss Deby have ‘friendly’ relations with Sudan and have met on Sudanese soil, but are receiving no arms or other assistance from Khartoum, as charged by N’Djamena.
Abdelwahid Aboud Makaye, a leader of the newly formed United Front for Change and Democracy (FUC), said in an interview with Radio France Internationale that some meetings sealing the group’s formation in late December were held in El Geneina in Darfur, western Sudan.
But he noted that this was in line with a political tradition between the two neighbours under which successive Chadian rebellions had seized power with some degree of support from Khartoum.
“FUC’s relations with the Sudanese government are friendly - very close,” he said. “But this is not to say that the rebels are in any way manipulated by Khartoum.”
Chad and Sudan, both facing armed rebels on the home front, have long accused each other of backing dissidents.
Since a wave of army desertions in late 2005 and attacks on eastern Chad towns in December, President Deby has repeatedly accused Sudan of arming, financing and providing haven for Chadian rebels.
But the FUC’s Makaye told RFI, “This is a Chado-Chadian problem - not a Chado-Sudanese problem.”
He added: “All of Chad’s revolutions since 1966 have passed via Sudan…Deby himself got to power by way of Sudan.”
Former army commander Deby had help from Khartoum when he took power in a coup in 1990. He was elected to office in 1996 and 2001.
The FUC rebels will work through Sudan as well, Makaye said, but insisted that “this does not mean that Khartoum gives us arms or vehicles or anything.”
He said such materials were being provided by way of “other relations.”
The FUC emerged in late December when a number of rebel factions joined to form a military alliance to overthrow Deby.
In a statement in late December, Deby said that despite efforts to help Sudan tackle the nearly 3-year-old rebellion in Darfur, Khartoum was bent on destabilising Chad.
The Chad-Sudan dispute will be on the agenda at next week’s African Union summit, to be held in the Sudanese capital despite protests by Chad. The two sides recently expressed a willingness to hold talks, while stating positions rendering negotiations difficult.