[QODLink]
Archive
Rebels storm Chad capital

Chad government forces and rebels are engaged in fierce fighting inside the capital, N'Djamena, after a column of insurgents penetrated the northeast of the city.

Last Modified: 13 Apr 2006 14:29 GMT
Earlier reports said rebels were marching on the capital

Chad government forces and rebels are engaged in fierce fighting inside the capital, N'Djamena, after a column of insurgents penetrated the northeast of the city.

Military sources said that elements of a rebel force seeking to topple Idriss Deby Itno, the Chadian president, entered the capital early on Thursday, as fierce fighting continued in the suburbs.

Residents and diplomats confirmed that the rebels were in the city. The sound of artillery and machinegun fire could be heard coming from the northeast sector where the national parliament is.

Earlier on Thursday, residents in the eastern neighbourhoods of N'Djamena awoke to heavy gunfire before dawn, sending panic through the city the day after reports that rebels were marching on the capital.

Thursday's offensive followed three days of attacks in the countryside by rebels.

French troops based in Chad took up positions around government office buildings late on Wednesday, in anticipation of a rebel attack.
 
French reinforcements

France, which supports Deby's government, sent 150 troops to add to its contingent of about 1,200 already in Chad to protect about 1,500 French citizens there.

The soldiers are being dispatched from the central African country of Gabon, the French Defence Ministry said in a statement in Paris.

Unrest in Chad has the potential
to undermine the whole region

The government describes rebel groups in Chad as mercenaries and militia working on behalf of the government of neighbouring Sudan, an accusation Sudan denies.

Scores of defectors from the Chadian army have joined rebel groups in their effort to overthrow Deby who seized power in a 1990 coup, and has seen his authority undermined by violence in neighbouring Sudan and an apparent struggle for control of newly discovered oil reserves.

The troubles in Chad have revived fears that the Darfur conflict in neighbouring Sudan has the potential to undermine the region where Sudan, Chad and the Central African Republic meet.

Since October, the rebels have been skirmishing with government forces along the border, which is more than 1,000km east of N'djamena.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps will be released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.