Heavy fighting between the army and anti-government forces in eastern Chad has left "many" dead, a government spokesman says.
"A column of more than 200 vehicles with armed elements attacked a defence and security forces position this morning at Amdjerima," Hourmadji Moussa Doumgor said in a statement on Monday.
"The defence and security forces fought back with determination to rout the attackers, who as usual had come from Sudan."
Chadian authorities said the rebels were from the Union for Forces of Democracy and Development, the Rally for Democratic Forces, and the Chadian National Concord.
A spokesman for the anti-government alliance told the AFP news agency that it was government forces that started the fighting and denied that his forces had been defeated.
"There was fighting between government forces and men of the CNT [Chadian National Concord], but it's over and the CNT is still in control of the area," Maide Id Moura said.
The government of Idriss Deby, the president, said exact casualty figures for the rebel forces were not yet available but 38 of their vehicles had been destroyed.
The Chadian National Accord said anti-government forces had lost only three vehicles and 10 men, while destroying 35 government vehicles and killing numerous soldiers.
|"Sudan has not abandoned its sinister project of destabilising Chad" |
Chadian government statement
Last week, the Chadian National Concord accused the army of attacking its positions 30km from the Sudanese border with helicopter gunships.
The previous weekend, clashes between local groups in the east resulted in more than 100 deaths, provoking intervention from Chad's army.
N'djamena accused the Sudanese government-backed Janjawid militia of involvement in those attacks.
Meanwhile, Al Jazeera's correspondent in Khartoum quoted government officials as saying that 17 Sudanese soldiers had been killed in an attack by Chadian forces in Sudan.
Chad and Sudan signed a non-agression pact two months ago but frequently blame each other for supporting anti-government forces in their respective countries.
"Sudan has not abandoned its sinister project of destabilising Chad," the government said on Monday, calling on the population "to rally more than ever behind the defence and security forces to preserve their democratic gains, and guarantee sovereignty and territorial integrity".