Chad declares state of emergency in east, north

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N'DJAMENA, Oct 16 (Reuters) Chad's government today imposed a state of emergency in its eastern regions bordering Sudan's Darfur and in its remote desert north following recent ethnic clashes that killed at least 20 people.

A government statement said the move put restrictions on the movement of people and vehicles and on the media in the eastern border regions of Ouaddai and Wadi Fira and in the northern region known as the BET.

President Idriss Deby's government announced the move after at least 20 people were killed in recent days in the Wadi Fira region of eastern Chad following the desertion of a group of former rebels loyal to the defence minister.

The violence between the Tama and the Zaghawa communities broke out after an armed group of Tama fighters, who had served under Defence Minister Mahamat Nour, abandoned the eastern town of Guereda last week and moved close to the Sudanese border.

The partial state of emergency was also imposed at a time when the European Union approved plans to deploy a peacekeeping force in eastern Chad by the end of November.

REUTERS GL PM1922

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