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Last Updated: Monday, 11 February 2008, 10:40 GMT
EU plans resumption of Chad force
French troops in Chad
Some 1,100 French troops are already based in Chad
The EU is hoping to resume deployment of its peacekeeping mission to Chad in the next few days, after a delay caused by fighting in the capital, N'Djamena.

An EU spokesman said the force was seeking clearance for an initial flight of logistics material on Tuesday.

The force's commander in Chad told the BBC the rebel offensive had put the deployment back four weeks.

A BBC correspondent says normality has returned to the capital, after the authorities relaxed a curfew.

However, aid agencies say they are still struggling to cope with large numbers of displaced people.

Some 30,000 Chadians fled across the border into neighbouring Cameroon after rebels attacked N'Djamena last weekend.

The French-dominated EU peacekeeping force had been due to start deploying to Chad at the beginning of February to give the refugees and aid workers there a measure of protection, but the rebel offensive began at the same time.

Many refugees converged on the border town of Kousseri, which is full to bursting point, the BBC's Arnaud Zajtman in N'Djamena says.


The United Nations in Geneva says worsening security in Chad has also resulted in serious shortages of supplies for Sudanese refugees in eastern Chad.

A series of deadly attacks on Darfur villages has also prompted another 12,000 people to flee western Sudan, according to the UN.

An estimated 240,000 Darfur refugees are already living in camps in eastern Chad and another 180,000 Chadians have been internally displaced.

Initial force

Jean-Philippe Ganascia, the French Brigadier General heading the EU force on the ground in Chad told the BBC that four days of fighting around the capital had led to four weeks of delay.

However, an EU spokesman said the start of the mission had already been scheduled for March and the fighting had not led to any major change.

An Irish military spokesman said the initial entry force which had been due to leave at the start of February would now fly out in the next two weeks.

Although 150 soldiers are already in Chad, the mission cannot begin until the initial force arrives.

Rebel threat

In a separate development, an alliance of rebel groups warned the EU force not to send troops, accusing France of directly helping Chadian President Idriss Deby to fend off rebel attacks.

In a statement quoted by the Reuters news agency the rebels said: "The alliance of the armed opposition no longer believes in the neutrality of a force essentially composed of French troops and whose operational direction is carried out by France."

Brig-Gen Ganascia said on Monday that if the EU force had been deployed by the time of the rebel advance the peacekeepers would only have acted if civilians had been at risk.

"We would have defended these people (civilians) if they were being attacked," he said.

"But we wouldn't be facing or preventing the rebels' column from coming to N'Djamena because that is not directly our concern from a military point of view."

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