Chadian president declares state of emergency
Chad's president has declared a nationwide state of emergency, telling his citizens that tightened controls were needed to restore order after recent rebel attacks.
In a speech broadcast on national radio and television, President Idriss Deby said he had signed a decree that would increase the government's powers for 15 days, as set forth in Chad's constitution.
Deby said the decree instituted "measures important and urgent to maintain order, guarantee stability and assure the good functioning of the state."
The text of the decree, which was read out on the broadcast, announces that, as of Friday, there is "a state of emergency throughout the territory of the Republic of Chad."
The measure gives extra powers to regional governors to control the circulation of people and vehicles, bans most meetings, allows the government to control what is published in the press, and institutes a midnight to 6 am curfew.
After the 15 day period, the country's national assembly decides whether to allow an extension of the state of emergency.
The declaration followed the February 2-3 attack on the capital, N'Djamena, by rebels from eastern Chad. After a weekend of fighting in which clashes reached the edge of the presidential palace, Chad's army repelled the rebels from N'Djamena and eastward toward the Sudanese border.
Earlier on Thursday, French officials said the rebels were hovering around the town of Goz Beida, in a region where European Union peacekeepers are to deploy over the next three months for a peacekeeping mission to protect refugees from Sudan's troubled Darfur region.
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