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Chadian leader in troubled north after rebel attack

By AFP
Chad Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno made the visit to 'galvanise the troops' facing rebels in Chad's north.  By Denis Sassou Gueipeur (AFP)
FRI, 18 AUG 2023 LISTEN
Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno made the visit to 'galvanise the troops' facing rebels in Chad's north. By Denis Sassou Gueipeur (AFP)

Chadian President Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno has travelled to the remote north of the country to "galvanise the troops" after soldiers came under attack from rebels, his office said Thursday.

He travelled to Bardai, in the harsh Tibesti mountain desert region around 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) north of the capital N'Djamena, after the attack by rebels based in neighbouring Libya, it said.

"The aim of the visit: to galvanise the troops and strengthen the current deployment following the attack on positions by armed elements claiming to be from the CCMSR," said spokesman Brah Mahamat.

He gave no details about how long Deby would be staying in the area.

The CCMSR -- the Military Command Council for the Salvation of the Republic -- is one of a constellation of rebel groups that have a decades-long history of seeking to overturn Chad's regime.

Map of Chad with the capital N'Djamena.  By  (AFP) Map of Chad with the capital N'Djamena. By (AFP)

In April 2021, Deby's father, Idriss Deby Itno, who ruled the impoverished Sahel country with an iron fist for 30 years, was killed during operations against another northern rebel group, the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT).

He was immediately succeeded by his 38-year-old son, a five-star general, at the head of a 15-member junta.

The younger Deby has been appointed transitional president pending a return to civilian rule. Elections have been promised to be held by October 2024.

On August 10, the CCMSR said its troops had carried out a "lightning strike on the enemy of the Chadian people" in the Wour and Kouri area the previous night.

The two locations lie respectively 100 kilometres west and 150 kilometres east of Bardai, where Deby is said to be visiting.

The attacks led to "several dead" in army ranks and two among the rebels, the CCMSR said in a later statement.

It added that 23 troops were captured, nine armoured vehicles destroyed and various weapons and vehicles seized.

The claim is impossible to verify independently in the remote and dangerous Tibesti -- a region of rebels, illegal gold miners and traffickers -- and the authorities did not respond to AFP requests for information.

The area is the theatre for sporadic but intense episodes of fighting.

Week-long clashes broke out in the area in June, leading to contradictory versions of events -- the army said it killed 23 rebels while the insurgents said they had killed 15 soldiers.

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