U.S. withdraws Embassy staff from Chad over recurring rebellion
London, April 19, 2021 (AltAfrica)-The United States (U.S) has ordered its non-essential staff in Chad to leave the African country as rebel fighters approached the capital on Sunday after early election results showed President Idriss Deby on course to extend his three-decade rule.
Deby, who seized power in 1990 at the head of an armed rebellion, is a staunch ally of France and the United States in the fight against Islamist militants in the arid Sahel region
“Due to their growing proximity to N’Djamena and the possibility for violence in the city, non-essential U.S. government employees have been ordered to leave Chad by commercial airline,” the U.S. state department said in a statement.
The action comes as partial results from an April 11 election showed long-term President Idriss Deby maintains a strong early lead https://t.co/69U9TMs8El— Bloomberg (@business) April 18, 2021
The British government on Saturday urged its citizens to leave because, it said, two armed convoys from the rebel Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) were advancing towards the capital.
One convoy was seen approaching the town of Mao, about 220 km (137 miles) to the north of N’Djamena, it said.
Large numbers of heavily armed Chad security forces were patrolling the streets of the capital on Sunday morning, a Reuters witness said.
But the Chadian military said it had halted the advancing by rebels coming from neighbouring Libya, but the rebel group said Sunday that it was pressing ahead after the American and British embassies warned of a possible assault on the capital in the coming days.
Army spokesman Azim Bermandoa Agouna said that clashes had taken place late Saturday in the northern province of Kanem and that the rebel column from Libya was “totally decimated.”
“Congratulations to our valiant defence and security forces,” government spokesman Cherif Mahamat Zene tweeted, describing the rebel forces as “mercenaries coming from Libya.
Partial provisional results have given Deby a strong lead in the April 11 poll despite signs of growing discontent over his handling of the nation’s oil wealth.
Deby, one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, has successfully put down a string of rebellions since taking power, sometimes with military assistance from France.
French air strikes helped the Chad army to repel a rebel incursion from Libya in February 2019.
FACT, which is based on Chad’s northern frontier in Libya, attacked a Chadian border post on the evening of April 11, just as polling stations were closing