Chad-Sudan border reopens after seven years
NDJAMENA — The border between Chad and Sudan has reopened seven years after the Darfur conflict forced its closure, Chadian officials said Tuesday, in another sign of improved relations between the former foes.
"The border was opened Saturday and traffic is moving freely between the two countries," Hassan Ibrahim, a local offical in Adre, told AFP by telephone from the Chadian border town.
"Sudanese taxis are going back and forth and so are the people," he added. His town is located about 34 kilometres (21 miles) from El-Geneina in Darfur.
The reopening of the border was also confirmed by an official in Chad's foreign ministry who requested anonymity.
The border decision was part of the accord signed in January normalising relations between Chad and Sudan, the official said.
From 2003 rebel attacks in Darfur and also within Chad had heightened tensions between the two countries with both sides accusing the other of supporting cross-border insurgents.
In May 2008 after Darfur rebels reached the outskirts of the capital Khartoum, Sudan broke off diplomatic relations with Chad accusing Ndjamena of backing the attack.
This was followed by a surprise rebel attack on Ndjamena which came close to overthrowing the Chadian president before government forces managed to rally and rout the insurgents.
But in January, Sudan and Chad agreed to deploy a joint force on their border to end the presence of rebels on each other's territory and halt their activities as part of normalisation efforts.
And a month later Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno made a landmark visit to Khartoum during which he and Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir agreed to normalise ties and turn a page on years of tense relations.