Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR) were at odds on Monday after the Chadian government accused its southern neighbor of killing six of its soldiers at a border post, five of whom were allegedly kidnapped and then executed, calling it a “ war crime. ‘ was named. that would “not go unpunished”.
Hours after the accusation, the CAR said there had been “gunfights … at the border,” with fatalities on both sides.
It expressed regret for the deaths, blamed the rebels who it said his soldiers had pursued and suggested that Chad and the CAR – “two fraternal peoples” – conduct a joint investigation.
The incident has drawn attention to the sometimes fraught relations between Chad – ruled by a junta since the veteran was killed six weeks ago – and the CAR, an impoverished, unstable country fighting powerful armed groups.
“Central African forces attacked the Sourou outpost in Chad on Sunday morning … They killed a Chadian soldier, wounded five and kidnapped five others who were subsequently executed in Mbang on the Central African Republic side,” says the Chadian. Foreign Minister Cherif Mahamat. Zene said in a statement.
The CAR regularly accuses its northern neighbor of supporting armed rebel groups from Chad.
The attack came after CAR soldiers crossed Chadian territory to pursue rebels, a senior Chadian security official told AFP, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The rebels were members of the Unity for Peace in Central Africa (UPC) or the so-called 3R group, according to this source and another security source.
Both are among the CAR’s most powerful armed groups and are part of a coalition that attempted to overthrow President Faustin Archange Touadera in December.
The Sourou outpost near the village of Mbere, which was manned by 12 soldiers, was attacked at dawn, Zene said in his statement.
This “war crime is extremely serious and this deadly attack, which was pre-considered, planned and carried out from Chad – for reasons known only to the Central African government – will not go unpunished,” he added.
Zene said Chad would “ call on the international community to testify ” to what he termed “ serious aggression, ” specifically the UN’s 12,000-strong peacekeeping force in CAR, MINUSCA, as well as the African Union and Central Economic Community. African States. (ECCAS).
In Bangui, the CAR government said it “regrets the loss of life in the Chadian and Central African armed forces” and accused the rebels of claiming that its troops had been pursued.
The statement reaffirmed CAR’s will to strengthen relations “between two fraternal peoples” and suggested launching a joint investigation with Chad to investigate the clashes.
UN sources in the CAR, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there had been a clash on Sunday in the market of Mini, a Chadian village near the border.
The fighting was between CAR forces and Russian paramilitary allies on one side and Chadian soldiers on the other, the sources said.
At least one Chadian soldier was killed and five were taken prisoner, they said, adding that both sides suffered casualties.
The anti-Touadera coalition is one of the groups that control large parts of CAR’s territory.
But it failed in its attempt to oust the president, who was reelected in late December.
The rebels have been driven from major cities in recent months, thanks in part to support for the CAR army from hundreds of Russian paramilitary fighters believed to be from the Wagner Group, a shadowy private military company.
Chad, meanwhile, has been under junta rule since April 20, when the military announced that veteran leader Idriss Deby Itno had been murdered as leading troops against Chadian rebel fighters arriving from Libya.
Chad’s military is considered the most powerful in the region, and Deby’s government has been an important Western ally in the fight against jihadists in the volatile Sahel.
Deby’s son Mahamat, a four-star general, proclaimed himself president after the death of his father, who had ruled Chad with an iron fist for three decades.
The junta has dissolved parliament and revoked the constitution, while promising “free and democratic” elections within an 18-month transition period.