An attack that killed six Chadian soldiers at a border post with the Central African Republic will be jointly investigated by the two countries after a high-level meeting on Tuesday appeared to ease tensions.
Chad has blamed the CAR military for the attack, saying five of the soldiers were kidnapped and then executed in Sunday’s incident, calling it a “war crime” that “would not go unpunished”.
CAR had blamed the rebels it said its soldiers were chasing.
During the meeting between the foreign ministers of the two states, “After expressing its surprise at the attack, the CAR side strongly condemned it and expressed its deepest condolences to the government and people of Chad,” it said. a joint statement released afterwards.
The two sides “underlined the urgency of clarifying the circumstances in which this attack took place” and agreed to establish an independent international commission of inquiry.
The two sides also agreed to work together to strengthen security along the border.
The mood was tense earlier, when Chadian government spokesman Abderaman Koulamallah told AFP that the attacks were premeditated and that the Central African authorities “must accept and admit their mistakes”.
He had said Chad would push for an international investigation, adding: “Depending on what these envoys tell us, we’ll see what we can do”.
The three CAR ministers were carrying a letter from President Faustin Archange Touadera, CAR chairmanship spokesman Albert Yaloke Mokpeme told AFP.
The team will meet with Chad’s junta leader Mahamat Idriss Deby on Wednesday.
The incident has spotlighted the sometimes fraught relations between Chad – ruled by a junta that came to power just six weeks ago – and the CAR, an unstable country battling powerful armed groups.
CAR regularly accuses its northern neighbor of supporting armed rebel groups from Chad.