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Thousands flee from Chad’s violence

Thousands of Chadian civilians fled the capital Monday, after fighting between rebels and government troops ceased, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Rebel leaders ended the two-day fighting to regroup and give civilians the chance to flee the capital of N’Djamena. Officials, however, claim that the fighting is not over and that rebels claim to attack again.

The United Nations granted France and other countries the ability to intervene in the violence on Monday. France vows to protect the Chadian government if called to do so. At the present time, France will work with the Chadian military in giving information on rebel forces.

Over 500 civilians were wounded in the past two days, according to humanitarian officials. More than 1,000 rebels entered the capital Saturday fighting government troops. This was the third coup attempt in Chad in the past three years.

The New York Times reported that a Sudanese rebel group joined French support to help aid the Chadian government. The group had been fighting the Sudanese government in Darfur for the past five years and left their bases in eastern Chad to fight the rebel opposition.

Four opposition leaders have been arrested in the past few days, said Reed Brody, an attorney at Human Rights Watch. At least three other opposition leaders have been arrested, but have not been heard from, according to the rights worker.

“These opposition leaders are at grave risk of being tortured or forcibly disappeared,? said Tawanda Hondora, director of the Africa program for Amnesty International. “The Chadian government seems to be using the current conflict with the armed opposition as a cover for arresting people peacefully opposed to government policy.? (New York Times)

The Chadian President Idriss Deby has been missing since the violence erupted during the weekend. He has not made a statement or made a public appearance.

In the past few years, Deby has increasingly lost popularity with the public. Deby altered the nation’s constitution in order to maintain his presidency, which he obtained in a 1990 coup of his own.