Chad's Capital Tense with Reports of Nearing Rebels

Chad's government is denying reports that rebel soldiers are closing in on the capital, N'Djamena. Despite the denial, additional troops have been deployed on the outskirts of the city.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

JOHN YDSTIE, host:

And I'm John Ydstie.

There are reports that groups of heavily armed rebel soldiers in Chad are closing in on the nation's capital N'Djamena.

BBC reporter Stephanie Hancock is in Chad and says the rebels aren't just posing a threat to the capital.

Ms. STEPHANIE HANCOCK (Reporter, BBC): There is a danger on several fronts, and while there it still a threat to the capital, they're still very much a threat in the east as well. So the situation is serious. There are essentially up to three rebel columns in Chad, moving about and preparing to strike.

YDSTIE: In a radio broadcast, yesterday, Chad's communications minister accused neighboring Sudan of financing the rebels. Sudanese leaders in Khartoum have made similar charges against Chad.

Ms. HANCOCK: Both the government of N'Djamena and Khartoum are backing rebel groups, trying to bring down the other's leader. So the Darfur crises does play a part in this, of course - particularly because this is an unmonitored massive piece of terrain, through which both of these rebel groups can move with relative freedom.

YDSTIE: That's the BBC's Stephanie Hancock with the latest news from Chad.

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