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Chad says it foiled coup attempt by soldiers

Written by: Staff

N'DJAMENA, Mar 15 (Reuters) Chad's government said today it had foiled a coup attempt against President Idriss Deby by some members of the army.

Information Minister Hourmadji Moussa Doumgor said two senior officers had been arrested while other plotters had fled towards the east.

''It was an attempted coup,'' he told Radio France International.

A Chadian rebel group fighting to overthrow Deby said earlier it had tried to launch a coup against him from within the armed forces but the plot had been betrayed.

In N'Djamena, government soldiers blocked off the main southern route out of the capital, preventing traffic from heading towards Cameroon. Both national mobile phone networks were also off the air, one since late last night.

Dougmor said government forces were pursuing the plotters, who were travelling in several vehicles.

''They've fled towards the east,'' he said.

Deby's government has in recent months faced attacks from the east of the arid, landlocked country launched by groups of Chadian rebels and army deserters.

Deby has repeatedly accused neighbouring Sudan of backing efforts to overthrow him, a charge denied by Khartoum.


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