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Analysts: Renewed Chad Fighting Signals Growing Rebel Movement

Following a bout of intense fighting between rebel groups and Chad's national army, analysts say the country's insurgency is becoming stronger and larger as the conflict drags on.

Rebels with the United Forces for Democracy and Development and Chadian army forces both declared victory Sunday after renewed clashes in the country's east.

Chadian authorities confirmed that the army's deputy commander-in-chief, General Moussa Sougui, died during the fighting.

Each side says it suffered few losses in its own camp, but killed hundreds of opponents. There are no independent observers in the remote scrubland to verify those claims.

The fighting is the latest flare-up in a conflict between Chadian President Idriss Deby and a growing number of rebel groups.

Analyst Roland Marchal with France's Institute for Political Science says the rebel numbers are growing because there is little room in Chadian politics for differing views.

"We are in a situation where the only opposition that seems to have any influence is the armed opposition," he said. "The problem is that we started last year with basically two groups, and now we are around six or seven."

Many of Chad's rebel groups are led by former top government officials. A number of those fighting the government defected from the Chadian national army.

Chad has long accused Sudan of funding the rebel movements and supplying them with arms. Last week, rebels fired a surface-to-air missile at a French reconnaissance plane.

Sudan has denied the charges and in turn accused Chad of aiding anti-government forces in Sudan's Darfur region.