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Libreville - A Chadian rebel movement on Friday denied lending support to rebels in the neighbouring Central African Republic, refuting a claim by that country's government.
“The ANCD (National Alliance for Change and Democracy) formally denies statements by Mr Josue Binoua, a Central African minister, insinuating the presence of Chadian resistance forces alongside the Seleka” rebel coalition, an ANCD statement said.
“Though it considers that the departure of (the Central African Republic's) President (Francois) Bozize would be good for the Central African people, the ANCD never interfered in the Central African conflict,” it added.
Binoua, the Central African Republic’s territorial administration minister, on Thursday alleged that the Seleka alliance of three rebel groups, who have swept across much of the country to within 160 kilometres (100 miles) of the capital Bangui, consisted mainly of rebels from Chad and from Darfur in western Sudan.
He also charged that rebel leaders were linked to Wahabites, who practice a strict form of Islam.
Binoua said that “residual forces of Mahamat Nouri”, a Chadian rebel leader, constituted the bulk of the fighters in the Seleka alliance.
Nouri, a former minister under Chad's President Idriss Deby Itno, went into armed opposition in 2006 and launched a powerful assault on the capital Ndjamena early in 2008, which was repelled after days of heavy fighting at the cost of hundreds of lives.
The Central African Republic's government made its allegations days ahead of peace negotiations that are scheduled to begin next Tuesday in Gabon's capital Libreville, under the aegis of the Economic Community of Central African States (CEEAC).
Bozize's regime has several times charged that the offensive launched from northern Central African Republic on December 10 by the rebels is an act of foreign aggression. - Sapa-AFP