The rebels who attacked the capital of Chad over the weekend in a bid to oust President Idriss Deby say they will accept a ceasefire, but only if Deby steps down. The fighting in N’Djamena has taken a heavy toll, although the city was calm this morning. Former colonial power France has some 1,400 troops in Chad. The rebels accused France of causing many civilian casualties during the fighting – a charge Paris says is baseless.
The UN has agreed a non-binding statement condemning the attack and giving the green light for countries to provide aid and assistance. The deployment of a French-led European peacekeeping force in eastern Chad tasked with protecting refugees from Darfur has been postponed.
Now many Chadians are fleeing violence themselves. The UN’s refugee agency estimates that between 15,000 and 20,000 people have fled to neighbouring Cameroon. Thousands crossed at the Chari river, either by boat or over one of several bridges.
Some have relatives to stay with at the end of their journey, many have nothing other than the possessions they were able to carry.