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Chadian troops 'have defeated rebel forces'

AFP (5/10/09)

LIBREVILLE (AFP); Chadian troops have defeated rebels who entered the country from Sudan nearly a week ago, said a French military source in Chad, reached from Libreville.

"I think we can say that we are in the final phase Sunday," said the military source. "It is a clear victory for (Chadian president Idriss) Deby. The rebels are beating a retreat."

"There has been a reconcentration of (rebel) columns in the southeast, along the border," he added. That seemed to suggest that the rebels were preparing to leave Chad.

"The situation is calming down again."

France has 1,100 soldiers based in its former colony under a bilateral accord and 800 others are serving in a UN-led force that last month took over a European mission to protect refugees in camps.

In the past, the French military has supplied Chadian forces with intelligence obtained from aerial surveillance.

But on Wednesday, Chadian Foreign Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat told RFI radio that they did not require any military aid from France to put down the rebel offensive.

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