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Chad warns Sudan after cross-border raid kills 9
06 Jan 2006 19:25:18 GMT
Source: Reuters
(Recasts with more from government statement, background)

By Dany Danzoumbe

N'DJAMENA, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Chad said on Friday Sudanese militiamen had killed nine civilians in a raid across its border and warned it would not let such attacks go unanswered much longer.

Chad's government said three other civilians were seriously injured in the attacks on Thursday near the eastern town of Adre, where government forces repulsed assaults by Chadian rebels and army deserters on Dec. 18. The area adjoins Sudan's troubled western region Darfur.

"The Sudanese militias attacked the settlements of Borota, Ade, Moudaina ... yesterday killing nine and injuring three among the civilian population," the government said.

There was no independent confirmation of the violence.

Chad's statement came at a time when the central African country is engaged in a diplomatic offensive to rally international support against what it says is a campaign of aggression by neighbouring Sudan.

Africa's newest oil producer said last month a "state of belligerence" existed between itself and Sudan and has accused Khartoum of directing last month's attacks on Adre by Chadian rebels who have vowed to topple President Idriss Deby.

"The Chadian government once again warns the Sudanese government against any hasty action because aggression by Sudanese militias will not go unpunished for much longer," the government said in its statement.

It accused Sudan of gathering together "adventurers" -- the term the government has repeatedly used to describe Chadian army deserters and rebels -- in Darfur to try to form a "puppet government in exile".

EASTERN DISTRACTION?

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in Darfur in fighting between Sudanese government forces and Sudanese rebels in recent years.

Deby urged the United Nations on Wednesday to take control of Darfur because he said Khartoum was using the conflict there to try to destabilise neighbouring states.

Analysts say Chad's dispute with Sudan risks exacerbating an already messy regional conflict and Chad's internal problems.

Last week several Chadian rebel groups opposed to Deby -- a 53-year-old former army commander who himself led a revolt from the east to seize power in 1990 -- announced the formation of a political and military alliance to try to oust him.

"Deby clearly hopes to attract sufficient U.N. attention to current problems in the east to head off what are in fact largely domestic troubles," Chris Melville of research group Global Insight said in a report on Thursday.

Chad's government says its forces repulsed the Dec. 18 assaults, killing about 300 of the attackers. The rebels say they lost only nine men and killed more than 70 government troops, as well as destroying helicopters and tanks.

There has been no independent confirmation of either account.

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Last updated:Wed Jan 25 03:19:53 2006