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Chad jails 243 rebels over Libya incursions Open in fullscreen

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Chad jails 243 rebels over Libya incursions

Chad's army backed by French airstrikes fought off the insurgents [Getty]

Date of publication: 27 August, 2019

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Chad has arrested scores of people accused of launching an invasion of the country from Libya.
Chad has jailed 243 armed rebels for crossing from Libya into the country February, until their movements were halted by French air strikes, the government said Tuesday.

Justice Minister Djimet Arabi told AFP that "267 people who were arrested, 12 were sentenced on Monday to 20 years in prison and 231 others to terms ranging from 10 to 15 years".

Twenty-four minors who were detained in the clampdown were released, Arabi said.

Those jailed were sentenced by a "special criminal court", which handed down life sentences in absentia against nearly a dozen rebel leaders living outside Chad, including their chief Timan Erdimi, he added.

The Union of Resistance Forces (UFR) rebel group is based in the desert of southern Libya and opposes the rule of Chad's President Idriss Deby Itno.

In February, UFR fighters crossed into northeastern Chad in a column of 40 pickups with French warplanes, based near the Chadian capital N'Djamena, launching airstrikes on the attackers, halting their movement.

The rebels moved 250 miles into Chad before being halted by the strikes, France said, with the Chadian military capturing more than 250 rebels.

Chad last week closed its borders with Libya, Sudan and the Central African Republic due to "security reasons".

The country has seen tribal fighting in parts of the country with a state of emergency enforced in three regions.

"This state of emergency will help maintain and restore public order and security, as well as permanent and effective control of our borders," the council of ministers said in a statement earlier this month.

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