Rebels in Chad say they are taking more towns in the east of the
country, while the government is accusing Sudan's army of attacking a
border town. VOA's Nico Colombant reports from our regional bureau in
Rebels said they seized the town of Am Zoer recently, while capturing the chief of the town garrison and taking a small cannon.
Am Zoer is on the road to the main eastern city of Abeche. Rebels say they are marching to the capital N'Djamena.
unlike earlier this year, when they almost toppled President Idriss
Deby, security analyst Paul-Simon Handy does not believe the threat
from this new offensive is as grave.
"We should not overestimate
these new seizures of provincial towns in eastern Chad," he said. "It
is more to my point of view a publicity success, than real military
Handy, from the South African-based Institute for
Security Studies, says divisions within the rebel movements make it
unlikely the rebels will again reach the doorstep of the presidential
"I think the biggest difference is that today the rebels
seem less united than they were in February because the new rebel
groups, there are new groups emerging, even though it is the same
actors," he said. "There are new movements that have been emerging and
that are not united. They are extremely divided so that is the first
difference. And the French intelligence is giving support to the
Chadian army. I think this time the rebels cannot make it to
N'Djamena. They will certainly be stopped by airstrikes of the Chadian
Chad's government has accused Sudan of attacking the
border town of Ade with ground troops and helicopter fire. A statement
said its reaction will be on the level of, what it called, the
impudence of the Sudanese regime.
Sudan has denied backing the Chadian rebels or attacking Chadian territory.
army is accused for its part in helping and getting help from rebels
active in Sudan's Darfur conflict. Repeated mediation attempts between
the two governments and different rebel groups have failed.
latest surge of violence is taking place as European peacekeepers are
deployed on the Chadian side of the border to protect hundreds of
thousands of refugees and displaced people.
has accused the peacekeepers of allowing rebels to steal gas, food and
vehicles from aid workers in the area. The peacekeepers have said
there were no civilian casualties in the recent fighting. They say
they are a neutral peacekeeping force.
France, the former
colonial power, has soldiers in the European peacekeeping force and on
a permanent military base in N'Djamena, as part of post-colonial
military agreements. They have been accused by Chadian rebels of
keeping Mr. Deby in power.
Rebels say they want to get rid of
the long-standing president to organize free and fair elections in the
newly oil-rich state.