International concern is mounting over the escalating conflict in Chad where rebels are trying to oust the president ahead of elections next month.
The UN Security Council condemned the attempt to seize power by force, amid fears the worsening security situation could undermine efforts to reach a peace deal in the troubled Darfur region of neighbouring Sudan.
“The members of the Security Council express their deep concern regarding the deteriorating situation in Darfur and the recent attacks by armed groups in Chad,” said the Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations.
Authorities in Chad say they thwarted a rebel assault on the capital N’Djamena.
President Idriss Deby accuses Sudan of backing the attackers – something Khartoum denies.
Former colonial power France, which has over 1,000 troops in the central African country, has reinforced its military contingent.
It rejects claims its aircraft bombed the rebels.
French forces are not playing any combat role, according to a spokesman for the Defence Ministry in Paris.
In fact, France’s mission faces plenty of other challenges – not only protecting Westerners living in the oil-producing nation, but also huge numbers of Sudanese refugees who have flooded into Chad from Darfur.