Daha, Chad, 14 Rajab 1435/13 May 2014 (MINA) – Chad’s President Idriss Deby has announced the country’s border with the Central African Republic has been closed pending an end to intercommunal violence there that has killed thousands and forced nearly one million people to flee their homes.
Deby said the 1,000km frontier would remain open to Chadian citizens wishing to return home.
“From today our border with this country is tightly sealed,” Deby said during a visit on Sunday to the town of Daha, 20km from the border, Al Jazeera quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
“Barring that precise case [Chadians returning home], no one is authorised to cross this border until the crisis in Central African Republic is resolved.” His speech was posted on the website of the presidency on Monday.
Thousands of French and African troops have failed to stop the waves of killings that erupted after the predominantly Muslim Seleka armed opposition seized power in the majority-Christian former French colony in March 2013.
Seleka leaders were forced to resign under international pressure but Christian militias known as “anti-balaka” have intensified revenge attacks against Muslims leads to ethnic cleansing.
Chad, previously at the heart of African efforts to stabilise the neighbouring country, withdrew its forces from the Central African Republic last month.
Chadian troops were accused by many in the Central African Republic of siding with the Seleka group.
Since December, thousands of Muslims were killed in massacres committed by the Christian militia Anti-Balaka, but no exact figure.
According to the UN refugee agency, about 173,000 people have been displaced, while 37,000 others to flee to neighboring countries. (T/P09/E01).
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA).