Sudan accuses Chad of entering Darfur to supply rebels

Sudan's state minister of information, Kamal Obeid, released a statement saying Chadian forces had entered Darfur to take supplies to JEM rebels.

Sudan accuses Chad of entering Darfur to supply rebels

Sudan said on Wednesday that Chadian forces entered its Darfur region to ferry supplies to rebels involved in a recent surge of fighting.

Chad denied the accusation.

Chad earlier this week acused Sudan of backing a new insurgent coalition against the N'Djamena government.

Both countries accused each other of using rebels to launch proxy attacks on their capitals last year -- although Khartoum and N'Djamena resumed shaky diplomatic relations in November.

Sudan's state minister of information, Kamal Obeid, released a statement saying Chadian forces had entered Darfur to take supplies to the rebel Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).

Obeid said forces linked to Chad's "Republican Guard" had set out to reach JEM forces stationed outside North Darfur's capital El Fasher, the scene of clashes between Sudan's army and JEM earlier this week, but Chad said it was not true.

"The government of Chad categorically denies any involvement in internal clashes in Sudan and is shocked at the link Khartoum is trying to make between Chad and these events," Chadian Communications Minister Mahamat Hissene said in a statement.

Sudan's Obeid said Chadian forces had also tried to supply rebel forces in Muhajiriya, a town in South Darfur that JEM seized earlier this month.

"Chad is not willing to engage in normal and stable relations with Sudan," the statement on Sudan's information ministry website quoted the minister as saying.

It did not say whether the supplies reached the rebels across the long and porous border.

JEM's leader, Khalil Ibrahim, told Reuters his forces were not receiving any support from Chad.

Fighting has escalated in Darfur ahead of an expected decision from the International Criminal Court on whether to issue an arrest warrant against Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir on charges of war crimes in Darfur.

Sudan says the case is part of a Western plot to remove him and officials regularly accuse unnamed foreign powers of trying to capitalise on the uncertainty surrounding the case.

The Darfur war complicates relations between Chad and Sudan because many of the rebel forces come from cross-border tribal groups. There are also tribal links between Chadian leaders and prominent figures in JEM.

International experts say Sudan's Darfur conflict has killed 200,000 people and displaced 2.5 million more since mostly non-Arab rebels revolted against the Sudanese government in 2003, accusing it of neglecting the region.

Reuters
Last Mod: 29 Ocak 2009, 16:16
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