Sudan denies report that its planes bombed 4 villages in neighboring Chad

Saturday, October 28th 2006, 5:58 pm
By: News On 6

N'DJAMENA, Chad (AP) _ Chad accused neighboring Sudan on Saturday of bombing four towns along its eastern border, close to Sudan's volatile western Darfur region where thousands have been displaced by three years of conflict.

The Sudanese army spokesman, Brig. Gen. Osman Mohammed al-Aghbash, denied the Chadian report and said Sudanese forces ``have no interest in intervening there.''

There has been no independent confirmation of the Chadian government's allegations that Sudan's air force attacked the villages of Bahai, Tine, Kayarin and Bamina on Friday.

``Sudan has to stop ... otherwise we are going to take measures,'' Chadian Foreign Minister Ahmat Allam-mi told journalists Saturday without elaborating. ``We are not going to accept any other aggression. Our forces will take all necessary measures to respond.''

On Wednesday, Chad accused Sudan of supporting rebels that have attacked three eastern towns in recent days. Officials said the rebels had been driven back across the border.

The United Nations announced Friday that it was sending a mission to Chad and the Central African Republic to look for ways to keep the escalating conflict in Darfur from spilling into other countries.

Rebel groups are using various nations as rear bases to stage destabilizing attacks in both Chad and Sudan's western Darfur region, and ``the humanitarian fallout is extremely serious,'' U.N. Undersecretary-General for Peacekeeping Jean-Marie Guehenno said in New York.

Al-Aghbash, the Sudanese spokesman, said a senior military delegation visited Chad's capital of N'Djamena last week seeking to improve relations between the two countries' militaries. He denied Sudan allows Chadian rebels to operate from Sudanese territory.

After an April rebel attack on N'Djamena, Chadian President Idriss Deby accused Sudan of supporting the Chadian rebels, which Sudan denied. He closed the border and severed diplomatic ties, but the two countries resumed relations and reopened the border in August.

Human rights groups have long warned the violence in Darfur could destabilize the entire region. More than 200,000 people are believed to have been killed and 2.5 million people displaced in a three-year conflict between Darfurian rebels and the Sudanese government.

Chadian rebels, who include army deserters and some of Deby's relatives, have had sporadic clashes with Chad's army since October 2005. Deby, who first took power at the head of his own rebel army in 1990, won elections in May that the main opposition parties boycotted because they claimed they had been rigged.

The competition for power in Chad has become more intense since the country began exporting oil in 2004.