Sunday, April 23, 2006

Chad rebel prisoners say Sudan recruited them

April 23 Reuters report says Sudan's security forces helped recruit rebels, including child soldiers, from refugee camps in Darfur for a revolt in neighbouring Chad, rebel prisoners told African Union investigators. Excerpt:
Meeting some of 200 captured rebel prisoners at N'Djamena's central police station, the AU investigators heard how rebel leaders met Sudanese intelligence officers in Khartoum.

"The Sudanese intelligence people were our contacts ... they were always dressed in civilian clothing," Colonel Adoum Maratis, a captured rebel commander who said he came from Central African Republic, told reporters.

"We were given transport, communications. We were well equipped," Maratis said, adding that around 1,200 fighters in 75 pick-up trucks were involved in the attack on N'Djamena.

Maratis said he was recruited four months ago in Khartoum at a meeting with rebel chief Mahamat Nour.

Nour, an ex-Chadian army capitain, leads the rebel United Front for Democratic Change (FUC) and was seeking experienced officers to launch a rebellion against Deby.

Maratis travelled to training camps in Sudan's Darfur region, where he said some 7,000 rebel fighters were gathered to wage rebellion against Deby's rule.

Some recruits trained were as young as 12 years old, Maratis said. Several of the prisoners were small boys, who looked dazed by their experience and said they had been recruited by force.

Maratis said the majority of rebel fighters were from Chad, although a few prisoners said they were Sudanese.

"I was recruited by Sudan. I was visiting my family in a refugee camp (in Darfur), when I was approached by Sudanese military authorities and recruited by force," said Said Ibrahim Isaac, dressed in military fatigues.

"We were told to get on the trucks. We were not told we were going to Chad," said another prisoner.

The FUC rebels raced 800 km (500 miles) in three days to attack the capital at dawn. Several hundred people were killed before the Chadian army repelled the assault.

Hassane Mostar Hassane, a Chadian FUC captain, said he was recruited three years ago in Sudan. "Our arms were provided by Sudan, lots of different kinds of arms," he said in Arabic via a translator.
Further reading

Sudan Watch archive date and post title:
4/14/2006 Khartoum armed Arab insurgents inside Chad and dispatched them to overthrow Deby?
4/13/2006 French Mirage fighter dropped bomb near Chadian rebels heading for N'Djamena
4/11/2006 Propaganda war in Chad aimed at sowing fear and panic
4/10/2006 FUC in eastern Chad mount fresh offensive to get to N'Djamena and oust Chadian President Deby
4/02/2006 Mohamat Nour's Chadian rebel United Front for Change (FUC) aims to depose Chadian president Deby
3/15/2006 Chad's President Deby was sponsored by Khartoum and helped into power by the French secret services
2/20/2006 Two Chadian army generals desert, join rebels
2/12/2006 Reuters exclusive interview: Mahamat Nour the Chad rebel leader demands change, by force if needed
1/28/2006 Sudan accuses Chad of shelling Arm Yakui, West Darfur - NMRD Darfur rebels attack Sudan army base in Arm Yakui
1/13/2006 Sudan says UN peace force in Darfur unwelcome

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