N’DJAMENA, Chad – Chad’s president broke off relations with neighboring Sudan, threatened to expel 200,000 refugees from Darfur and paraded more than 250 captured rebels through the streets of the capital Friday after a violent attempt to overthrow him.
The refugees could become casualties in a growing war of accusations between the governments of Chad and Sudan. If forced to return to their homes in the western Sudanese region of Darfur, they would find almost no food or shelter.
“The international community has been totally deaf and dumb on the situation between Sudan and Chad,” President Idriss Deby said after an emergency Cabinet meeting. They “need to understand the situation and that enough is enough.”
An attack by the rebel United Force for Change on N’djamena, the capital of this central African country, set off the latest crisis. At least 350 people – troops, rebels and civilians – died in the failed assault Thursday, Cabinet minister Gen. Mahamet Ali Abdullah said.
He said 271 rebels were captured, and dozens of them were paraded through the Place d’Independence on Friday in a show of victory. Many were called upon to tell the crowds how they were either Sudanese conscripted by the rebels, or Chadians captured by Sudanese and forced to join the rebels.
The carefully choreographed demonstration was designed to support Deby’s assertion that the rebels were just mercenaries hired by the Sudanese government to overthrow him.