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Chad rebellion quashed, Sudan behind it: minister

world Updated: Feb 04, 2008 10:36 IST

AFP
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The Chadian government has said it had quashed a rebellion aimed at ousting President Idriss Deby and driven the rebels out of the capital Ndjamena.

"The battle for Ndjamena is over," Foreign Minister Amad Allam-Mi told France's RTI radio in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa in an interview in which he angrily accused the Sudanese of being directly behind the rebellion.

A leading rebel told AFP on condition of anonymity that the insurgents had simply withdrawn temporarily to allow civilians time to leave the capital.

"People should not think that Deby has won. He is still entrenched in his bunker from which he cannot leave," he said on condition of anonymity.

The capital, which was calm late yesterday, had earlier been rocked by tank battles in the streets and helicopter air strikes.

Anti-tank and automatic weapons fire was heard around the presidential palace, where Deby has been holed up since Friday.

Bodies covered with flies littered the streets and aid groups reported hundreds of wounded from the fighting.

Allam-Mi said Sudan had masterminded the rebel offensive in a bid to install its own Sudan-friendly administration in Ndjamena and "to close the window on the crisis in Darfur."

He also threatened future incursions into Sudan to pursue the rebels.