Friday, April 21, 2006

AU mission in Chad to probe Sudan role in attacks

An African Union delegation flew in to Chad on Friday to probe President Idriss Deby's accusations that neighbour Sudan is backing rebels bent on ending his nearly 16-year rule, Reuters report 21 Apr 2006 - excerpt:
Deby has accused Sudan of attacking his country and his government says it has abundant proof Khartoum equipped and armed the rebels, some of whom were captured and who residents say had to ask their way round N'Djamena when they arrived. Khartoum denies the charges.

"It is an information mission to ascertain where the responsibilities lie in the current crisis," Chad's Foreign Minister Ahmat Allam-Mi told Reuters. "We're ready to show them the prisoners we took and show them the equipment we seized during the fighting," he said.

African Union Commission Chairman Alpha Oumar Konare, one of the continent's top diplomats, said this week the mission would have to establish the facts before the 53-member continental body could make any condemnation of "the aggressor".

Former colonial power France, which has more than 1,000 soldiers in Chad, has been flying reconnaissance missions across the vast country in what officials say are efforts to get to the bottom of Chad's accusations of Sudanese involvement.

Foreign diplomats said many of those captured during the fighting appeared not to speak Chadian dialects, while the arms seized and shown to journalists after the raid included Chinese munitions, which analysts said were likely to be from Sudan.

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