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Chad jets targeted Darfur rebels

17 May 2013, 08:27

Khartoum - Chad's air force targeted Sudanese rebels along the Darfur border after, a breakaway rebel leader reputedly backed by N'Djamena was killed, the insurgents charged on Thursday.

Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) spokesperson Gibril Adam Bilal said Chad had bombed the frontier in North Darfur state's Tina district on Monday.

"So far no, there are not any casualties from our side," he said.

A regional expert, who asked to remain anonymous, also said a Chadian fighter jet bombed the Chad-Sudanese border area on Monday afternoon, targeting the JEM.

He said he had no information on whether the rebels suffered casualties in the strike, and added he thought the Chadian air force had "bombed both sides" of the border.

Bilal claimed Sudanese and Chadian aircraft had carried out more raids since Monday, but the political expert was unable to confirm this.

A Sudanese defence ministry spokesperson had no information about the air strike, but said that Sudan and Chad maintain a joint border force.

The African Union-UN peacekeeping mission in Darfur (Unamid) also had no information about a bombardment in the Tina area.

‘Heinous act’

JEM forces on Sunday "liquidated" Mohammed Bashar and another leader of a breakaway JEM faction, on the border with Chad, Khartoum's foreign ministry said earlier.

Chad condemned the "heinous act" which, it said, occurred on its territory near the Chad-Sudan frontier and would undermine the Darfur peace process.

Bashar's faction in April became the second rebel splinter group to join a 2011 peace deal with the Khartoum government.

The main JEM and other key Darfur rebel organisations, which have been fighting for 10 years in Sudan's far west, have rejected the peace agreement.

In February, when Bashar's faction signed an initial ceasefire with the government, Bilal said it would make no difference on the ground because the signatories had been under the protection of the joint Sudan-Chad border monitoring force.

The regional political expert said Chad had supported Bashar's breakaway faction and worked with Sudan to weaken the main JEM group.

Although President Idriss Deby Itno's regime and Sudan previously traded accusations of supporting rebel forces working against each other's regimes, relations have improved since 2010.

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir last week visited N'Djamena for a regional summit, despite International Criminal Court arrest warrants. He is wanted for alleged war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide in Darfur.



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