The government in Chad is facing a new crisis, with reports of a rapid rebel advance on a major city. Rebels claim to have taken control of a further eastern town, while the government accused Sudan of backing the rebels and attacking a second town.
The loss of Am-Zoer to the rebels and the attack on the town of Ade are yet to be independently confirmed. Am-Zoer is just north of the city of Abeche, the base for international humanitarian groups that work along the border with Sudan.
Only yesterday, Chad’s President Idriss Deby accused European Union troops of turning a blind eye to rebel attacks on civilians. EUFOR commanders say they have a mandate to protect refugees, not get involved in the fighting between government troops and rebels.
President Deby survived a rebel assault in February with help from former colonial ruler France, but Paris says it will not intervene in the latest fighting. The UN refugee agency has suspended its activities in eastern Chad, blaming the worsening security situation.