SUDAN WATCH: Propaganda war in Chad aimed at sowing fear and panic

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Propaganda war in Chad aimed at sowing fear and panic

"The UN and most NGOs have decided to reduce staff at Goz-Beida ... as a security precaution," UNHCR spokesman Matthew Conway told Reuters:

Speaking by telephone from Abeche, some 270 km (170 miles) to the north of Goz-Beida, Conway said the rebels appeared to have pulled back from both Koukou Angarana and the refugee camp.

"All our offices in the east have checked in and calm is prevailing," he said.

"PROPAGANDA WAR"

Diplomats and aid workers said recent rebel statements announcing the capture of major towns in the east -- which later turned out to be false or exaggerated -- appeared aimed at sowing fear and panic among local officials.

The government says it still controls the country.

"There's a propaganda war being fought here," said one diplomat, who asked not to be named.

Chad's government blamed Sudan for Monday's raid on the refugee camp, which it said caused damage and casualties.

The UNHCR's Conway said the agency had received no reports of civilian casualties.

"Sudan has decided to destabilise Chad with carefully planned terrorist strikes," Chad's Information Minister Hourmadji Moussa Doumgor said in a statement which described the rebels as "mercenaries in the pay of Sudan".

Since last year, insurgent groups, their ranks swelled by army deserters, have been harrying Deby's forces from the east.

Diplomats say it remains to be seen whether they can push to N'Djamena before the elections. Rebel fighters killed the Chadian army commander, who was Deby's nephew, last month.

In May's election, Deby -- who won power in a 1990 military revolt from the east -- will face four candidates with links to his government.

Source: Reuters report by Betel Miarom 11 April, 2006 with additional reporting by Pascal Fletcher in Dakar.
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Chad rebels from bases in Darfur attack refugee camp

BBC report: Chad has 12 camps hosting Sudanese refugees from Darfur. A large number of army officers have deserted to join the FUCD, a coalition of rebel groups led by Mahamat Nour from bases in Darfur on Sudan's border with Chad. But Chad's government is refusing to call the attackers rebels and blames Sudan for the incident at the camp. Chad says the assailants were mercenaries supported by Khartoum.

Apr 10 2006 FUC in eastern Chad mount fresh offensive to get to N'Djamena and oust Chadian President Deby

Apr 11 2006 BBC Chadian rebels raid central town

Apr 12 2006 BBC Chad rebels 'advance on capital' - The BBC's Stephanie Hancock in N'Djamena says people in the capital are going to work as usual, but are not sending their children to school in case of unrest.

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