There has been fighting in the Chadian capital, N’Djamena, between government forces and rebels bent on overthrowing the president. After several hours of intense artillery and machinegun fire in the northeast of the city, residents say the fighting appeared to lessen, although there are still reports of isolated pockets of combat. The rebels have vowed to depose the government and take control of the landlocked central African oil producer.
They also want to disrupt next month’s presidential election which Deby is widely expected to win. But authorities say the contest will go ahead as planned. Speaking on French radio, Deby said fighting in the capital was under control and Chadian soldiers had wiped out a column of resistance close to the Sudan border.
Meanwhile, France, Chad’s former colonial ruler, has reinforced a thousand strong military contingent it has in the country. It says it is ready to evacuate some 1,500 French nationals if the situation gets worse.