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Chadian Army, Rebels Clash Near Sudan Border

01 February 2007

Chadian armed forces clashed with rebels Thursday in the eastern border town of Adre. From VOA's regional bureau in Dakar, Jordan Davis reports both sides say fighting was intense.

The latest round of fighting between rebel and government forces in Chad began in the early morning hours when rebels entered Adre.

Speaking in Dakar, Makaila Nguebla, a spokesman with the rebel Union of Forces for Democracy and Development, says the UFDD seized control of the town by midday.

Nguebla says they then headed eastward toward Abeche, a city 150 kilometers away that serves as a base for humanitarian agencies.

But according to the Chadian government's version of the events, national army troops successfully defeated the UFDD forces. A government spokesman said the rebels fled across the border to Sudan.

Chadian officials have regularly accused officials in Khartoum of supporting the rebels. For their part, Sudanese officials say Chad is backing rebel groups that oppose the Khartoum government.

Since late 2005 rebel groups opposed to Chadian President Idriss Deby have sporadically attacked towns in the border region. In 2006, a separate rebel group reached the outskirts of the capital, N'Djamena.

Many observers fear the conflict in eastern Chad will worsen with the spread of violence from Sudan's neighboring Darfur province, where so-called Janjaweed mitias have killed civilians and burned villages.

Humanitarian groups say about 90,000 Chadian villagers have been displaced.

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