A leading Chad rebel group said Saturday it had killed ten soldiers in the north of the country, a claim the government rejected as “fake news.”
The Military Command Council for the Salvation of the Republic (CCMSR) said troops had attacked its forces in the Wouri district in the northern Tibesti region bordering Niger and Libya.
The group, which has refused to sign a peace deal with the government, said its fighters had killed ten soldiers and captured eight more.
Government spokesman Abderaman Koulamallah told AFP that some 20 rebel vehicles had entered the country over the past week, but there had been “no skirmish” with government forces.
“We have been monitoring these columns with planes and they left Chadian territory some days back,” he claimed, terming the CCMSR statement “fake news.”
The Tibesti region has seen several major rebel movements emerge since independence from France in 1960.
Since the 2012 discovery of gold there, the region’s mines have attracted panners by the thousand, as well as rebels from Chad and neighboring Sudan looking to use the precious metal as a means of funding their armed operations.
The CCMSR also Saturday accused France of overflying its positions with planes from the French-led Barkhane anti-jihadist mission and warned it would regard any bombardment as a declaration of war.
The CCMSR was formed in 2016 from a split within the Front for Change and Concorde (FACT) rebel group.
FACT launched the offensive from Libya that led to the April 2021 death of former president Idriss Deby Itno, who had ruled Chad for 30 years.
Deby’s son General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno succeeded him at the head of a transitional administration of generals who were loyal to his father.
Last week, the new leader launched a national dialogue towards restoring civilian rule with free and democratic elections within 18 months.
The CCMSR is among the rebel groups that have refused to join.
The group in April pulled out of peace talks in Qatar between the ruling junta and dozens of rebel groups, insisting the authorities had a “secret agenda” to destabilize peace efforts.