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Monday, July 03, 2006

Chad army clashes with rebels near Sudan border

N'DJAMENA, July 3 (Reuters) - Chadian rebels attacked an eastern town near the border with Sudan on Monday but the government said its soldiers had put down the assault, killing several insurgents and taking a number of prisoners.

In turn, the rebels said they had entered the town of Ade and claimed victory for their fighters, saying they were chasing off fleeing remnants of the government force. It was not immediately possible to verify either version of events.

"The Chadian army is chasing some of the survivors in their disarray towards the Sudanese border," Chadian Communications Minister Hourmadji Moussa Doumgor said in a statement.

"The death toll from this suicidal attack by mercenaries will be known shortly but already the attackers have several dead and several of them have been taken prisoner."

Residents have deserted dozens of villages along Chad's desolate frontier with Sudan's Darfur region amid cross-border raids by Arab Janjaweed militia and their sympathisers.

Chad's President Idriss Deby accuses Sudan's President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of backing Chad's eastern-based rebels, some of whom appear to have been joining in Janjaweed attacks, according to residents and aid workers.
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