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Chad accuses Sudan of recruiting, training 3,000 Chadian rebels

4/8/2005 7:38pm

By ABAKAR SALEH, Associated Press Writer

N'DJAMENA, Chad, Apr 8, 2005 (AP) -- Chad's President Idriss Deby has accused Sudanese officials of recruiting, training and arming some 3,000 Chadian rebels in an effort to destabilize his government, officials said Friday.

The Cabinet described the action as "unfriendly," and declared Thursday that Chad was ready to take all measures to secure its 9.5 million population, Communication Minister Benjamin Natoingar said in a state radio broadcast Friday.

Sudan is training the insurgents some 25 kilometers (16 miles) from the border with Chad, officials said.

"This situation is not a secret," Defense Minister Emmanuel Nadingar told the Associated Press. "Sudan's government still hosts, organizes and equips with heavy weapons a rebellion to destabilize Chad."

Relations between the two countries have been tense since rebels in Sudan's western Darfur region took up arms against the government in February 2003.

The Darfur insurgents draw support from the Zaghawa, Fur and Masalit tribes, which live on both sides of the border. The African tribesmen rebelled against what they regarded as unjust treatment by the Sudanese government in their struggle over land and resources with Arab countrymen.

The insurgency triggered a rampage by pro-government Arab militiamen accused of atrocities against civilians. Tens of thousands of Darfur refugees streamed into Chad to escape the violence and poverty during the last two years of conflict, while some 180,000 people have been killed and some 2 million displaced both within and outside Darfur.

Deby, senior aides and African Union officials have mediated talks seeking to end the Darfur crisis.

"We wonder if there is need for our government to remain in the peace process to solve the Sudanese conflict while the other side is not devoting the same trust," Nandigar said.

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