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Chad Appoints New Ministers to Quell Unrest

FILE - Chadian President Idriss Deby, 2nd on left, in hat, greets army officers at a military base in N'Djamena, Oct. 17, 2018.

Chadian strongman Idriss Deby has appointed new defense and security ministers in a cabinet reshuffle following sustained rebel attacks in the north bordering lawless Libya, state television said Friday.

The Chadian military has carried out several airstrikes in the arid north since August targeting Libya-based rebels as well as illegal miners whose arrival in recent years in an area hit by a gold rush has fomented unrest with locals.

General Daoud Yaya, who formerly headed the gendarmerie, was appointed defense minister, replacing Bichara Issa who was dropped from the cabinet.

Mahamat Abba Ali Salah, a northerner and the governor of the troubled Lake Chad region which has been ravaged by attacks staged by Boko Haram jihadists from Nigeria, was appointed the new interior and security minister.

Oumar Yaya Hissein was named communications minister and government spokesman.

Former security minister Ahmat Mahamat Bachir told AFP that the government was battling "miners, arms traffickers and slave traders" adding: "The situation is totally under control."

Northern Chad is sparsely populated and home to several rebel groups involved in people trafficking between Chad and neighboring states Sudan, Niger and Libya.