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Chad rebels threaten to advance on N'Djamena

16 february 2012, 11:56
Chad's President Idriss Deby. ©REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah
Chad's President Idriss Deby. ©REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah
A Chadian rebel group based in the Central African Republic claimed Tuesday its forces were preparing an offensive that would position them within striking distance of N'Djamena, AFP reports.

In a statement received by AFP in Libreville, the Popular Front for Recovery (FPR) also said it had captured 27 Central African government soldiers, a claim AFP was unable to independently verify.

Chadian and Central African government forces on January 23 launched a joint offensive against the FPR in a move a military source has said forced the group's leader, General Abdel Kader Baba Ladde, to flee to Sudan.

The seriousness of the threat posed to N'Djamena by the FPR is unclear but the group has since 2008 been wreaking havoc in the Central African Republic where they are accused of terrorising villagers and pillaging.

FPR fighters "have captured 27 Central Africa soldiers," the group's statement said.

It said four of the prisoners were taken to the Bas-Uele region of the Democratic Republic of Congo while the 23 others were being held near Aweil in South Sudan.

The statement said one FPR unit would head for Tibesti in northern Chad and join forces with other rebel groups operating there "while the other will go to the Lake (Chad) region to threaten N'Djamena."

"There are no Chadian rebels in the Central African Republic, only marauding gangsters and highway bandits," Bangui's government spokesman Hasan Sylla Bakari said Monday.

Chad's President Idriss Deby Itno has been in power since 1990 and was last reelected in 2011. Rebels attacked the capital N'Djamena in 2006 and 2008 but twice failed to topple the regime.

Baba Ladde claims to fight for the Fula, a tribe whose people are spread over many African countries, from Senegal or Nigeria in the west to Sudan in the east.

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