News

Chadian Rebels, Government Forces Clash Inside Capital

Chadian rebels have entered Chad's capital N'Djamena and are battling against army units near the presidential palace. This follows a one-week rebel offensive to topple long-term President Idriss Deby. VOA's Nico Colombant reports from our regional bureau in Dakar.

Military officials, rebels and international aid workers confirmed the fighting around the presidential palace.

Clashes began early Saturday 20 kilometers outside the capital, before engulfing the city center. Residents in N'Djamena say they heard increasingly intense heavy arms fire. They say rebels occupied the east and south of the capital, and that there was fighting around the airport as well.

An exiled rebel spokesman who has been in contact with rebels on the ground, Makaila Nguebla, says Chad's army has offered little resistance.

He says rebels from several groups who allied themselves for this offensive were able to cross Chad over the course of one week from their bases near Sudan and enter the capital in one day.

The rebels say that if they take over, they will impose transitional rule for two years before organizing free and fair elections. Chad has had several coups since independence from France in 1960.

The newly-elected head of the African Union, Gabon's Foreign Minister Jean Ping, said he was very worried by the situation. He also said the African Union would not accept an unconstitutional change of government.

President Deby has been in power since 1990. Several years ago, he changed the constitution to allow unlimited presidential terms. He went to the scene of fighting Friday, before returning to the capital. Military officials who spoke to media did not immediately disclose his location.

His rule has been marked by accusations of corruption in the newly-emerging oil sector, and lately by defections from his clan-based inner circle to various rebel movements.

The French army, which has a permanent military base in Chad, has been giving the Chadian army logistical and surveillance support, but has said it will not enter into direct combat with rebels.

The fighting has led to the postponement of the deployment of a planned European Union peacekeeping force to secure people displaced from the conflict in Chad, as well as fighting in nearby Central African Republic, and from Sudan's warring Darfur region.

Border regions at the intersection of these three countries have been wracked by different rebellions, attacks by vigilante groups and inter-ethnic communal fighting in recent years.

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.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs