CHAD severed diplomatic ties with neighbouring Sudan yesterday and threatened to expel 200,000 Sudanese refugees, the day after government troops beat off a fierce rebel attack on its capital, Ndjamena.
President DÃ©by accuses Sudan of arming rebels who had sped across the vast desert country from bases in Darfur in a fleet of pick-up trucks. “The international community has been totally deaf and dumb on the situation,” Mr DÃ©by said after a cabinet meeting. “Enough is enough.”
Sudan helped Mr DÃ©by to gain power in a 1990 coup, but he fell out with his neighbour over his handling of the Darfur crisis. Since then he has faced a coup attempt, several high-level defections from his armed forces, and a spate of increasingly bold rebel attacks.
With the two giant but impoverished African countries now on the brink of war, he told cheering crowds at a rally in Ndjamena that if no international solution were found to the Darfur crisis by the end of June, Chad would no longer shelter refugees from the area. Thousands of people fled into Chad after Sudanese government forces cracked down on a rebellion in Darfur in 2003, massacring local black African tribes they said were sympathetic to the insurgents [insurgents in this case are non-Muslim Sudanese -RB]. Many Chadians, including the President, belong to the same nomadic desert tribes that straddle the common border.
Sudan suspected Mr DÃ©by of supporting the aims of Darfur rebels opposed to government-supported dominance by Arab tribes [and opposed to the imposition of Islamic law -RB]. Khartoum reacted by backing Chadian groups who were against the President and a move to change the constitution to allow him a third term.
For months, international observers have said that failure to settle the conflict in Darfur risked destabilising the entire region, especially Chad…
And this from VOA:
Now, President Deby is threatening to shut down the country’s oil production, which some analysts say is an attempt to strong-arm the World Bank into releasing at least $124 million in promised aid.
The aid was frozen after President Deby reneged on a previous agreement with the World Bank to use most of the country’s new-found oil wealth to improve the living standards of ordinary Chadians, who are among the world’s poorest.
Chad’s oil revenue has netted about $307 million since October 2003, when it began shipping oil.
Instead of using that money to reduce poverty, critics say, Chad’s government has spent millions on its military and weapons, as rebel groups in the country’s east seem more intent than ever on ousting President Deby, who took power himself in a coup 15 years ago.