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Sudan accuses Chad of air attacks

China View (5/22/09)

    UNITED NATIONS, May 21 (Xinhua) -- Tensions between Chad and Sudan continue to intensify after Sudan accused the Chad government of recent aerial bombardments in a May 16 letter addressed to the president of the United Nations Security Council. The letter was made public here on Thursday.

    "The government of Sudan is exasperated by and has grown weary of Chad's continued hostile and reckless undertakings and of its attacks against the sovereignty, territorial integrity and national security of Sudan," said the letter, written by Sudanese Ambassador to the UN Abdalmahmood Abdalhaleem Mohamad.

    Chad hit back at Sudanese accusations last Friday as Mahamat Hissene, a Chadian government spokesman, told reporters that Chad "is surprised to learn" that Khartoum is protesting against action by the Chadian air force on the Sudanese territory.

    Hissene said that any confrontations would be "simply the consequence of the attack on Chad organized by Sudan, using mercenaries armed, trained, financed and directed by satellite by the Khartoum regime."

    On May 15, three warplanes "of the Chadian air force penetrated60 km inside Sudan and carried out an intensive aerial bombardment of the area adjacent to Jabal Sindu, south of El Geneina," said the Sudanese letter, adding that again on May 16 at 1:30 p.m. local time, the Chadian air force "indiscriminately bombarded the areas south of El Geneina, spreading terror among innocent civilians."

    The letter ended by emphasizing that the Government of Sudan reserves the right to retaliate against "the treacherous aggressions of Chad in a decisive and deterrent manner," defying calls by UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon who has urged both sides to "refrain from any act that may lead to further escalation of tensions."

    On May 3, the two countries signed an agreement to stop hostilities in Doha, the capital of the Gulf state Qatar. However, it appears the peace settlement has had little effect on the ground.

    Both Sudan and Chad have regularly accused each other of backing fighters bent on overthrowing their respective governments.

    The relations between the two neighboring African countries have been in tension due to the conflict in Darfur, Sudan, and a civil war in Chad, which both governments accuse the other of supporting.

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