News

Fighting Rages Northeast of Chad's Capital

Nico Colombant

Government forces and rebels in Chad have been clashing northeast of the capital N'Djamena, prompting the former colonial power France to send in reinforcements to help the army. Rebels say they want to overthrow President Idriss Deby if he does not accept a power-sharing deal. VOA's Nico Colombant reports from our West Africa bureau in Dakar.

Fighting with heavy artillery started in the morning hours, Friday, about 100 kilometers northeast of the capital, around the town of Massakory.

Government officials say they were able to easily push back the rebel offensive, making what they called "mercenaries from Sudan" flee back into the desert.

Rebels taking part in the offensive said they had been able to set fire to dozens of army tanks and vehicles and were pushing toward the area of Massaguet, about 80 kilometers from the capital on the main road. There was no independent confirmation on details of the fighting.

Rebels also said they had columns ready to advance on N'Djamena from other directions. Many rebel leaders are former close associates and relatives of Mr. Deby.

An exiled rebel spokesman, Makaila Nguebla, says President Deby must negotiate a power-sharing deal, resign or face continuous rebel assaults.

Nguebla was angered by the troop reinforcements sent in by the former colonial power France.

He said it was another trick to keep Mr. Deby in power. He says he does not understand why France wants to impose what he called a "dictatorship" on the Chadian people.

France has a defense treaty with Chad which allows it to have a permanent military base in the capital. The French Defense Ministry said it had sent in an additional 150 troops to Chad as a precaution to help respond to the spiraling situation.

The French military said its Mirage jets and soldiers were helping Chadian government troops with logistics, surveillance and medical support, but not engaging in combat with rebels.

In N'Djamena, mobile phone networks were disrupted. Schools and many offices were closed. Many residents tried to stock up on provisions, while helicopters clattered overhead. The military also set up roadblocks in strategic areas.

Mr. Deby, a former rebel, took power in a coup in 1990. He changed the constitution to allow unlimited presidential mandates. Mr. Deby accuses Sudan of backing the Chadian rebellion. Sudanese officials deny this, and accuse Mr. Deby of backing rebels in Sudan's warring Darfur region.

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs