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Chad breaks diplomatic ties with Sudan - president

Written by: Staff
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N'DJAMENA, Apr 14 (Reuters) Chad's President Idriss Deby today said he was breaking diplomatic ties with Sudan after rebel attacks on his country which he said were supported by Khartoum.

''We have taken the decision to break our diplomatic relations with Sudan today and to proceed to close our frontiers,'' he told a rally in N'Djamena.

Chadian rebels attacked the capital N'Djamena early yesterday in the boldest assault yet by fighters who have vowed to end Deby's nearly 16-year rule and block a May 3 presidential election in which he is standing for re-election.

Chadian government forces repulsed the attack and said 100 people died in the fighting.

Chad's government has repeatedly accused its western neighbour Sudan of financing and arming anti-Deby rebels from the conflict-torn Sudanese region of Darfur.

Today, Chadian officials paraded 160 captured rebels in N'Djamena and said they were recruited by Sudan.

''What you can see here are mercenaries the Sudan government has recruited among Sudanese and Chadians over there (in Sudan),'' Chad's territorial administration minister, General Mahamat Ali Abdallah Nassour, told reporters.

The Sudanese government has rejected accusations it supports Chadian fighters.

No one from the Khartoum government was immediately available to comment on Chad's decision to end diplomatic ties.

REUTERS SI PM1749

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