Chad, Central African Republic call for international investigation into border incident
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by Madjiasra Nako and Mahamat Ramadane
Chad and the Central African Republic (CAR) have called on the United Nations and African Union to investigate an incident at a border post in which at least six Chadian soldiers were killed by Central African troops, a joint statement said Tuesday.
The incident threatens to escalate tensions between the two countries since Chad participated in African efforts to stabilise CAR in 2013, which has been wrecked by rebel insurgencies ever since.
"The two parties have recognised the gravity of the situation and stress the urgency of clarifying the circumstances in which this attack was carried out," the countries' foreign ministers said in the statement.
Chad's defence ministry on Sunday said that Central African troops had attacked a Chadian military post, killed one soldier, and kidnapped and executed five others - actions it said amounted to a war crime.
CAR authorities said a firefight had broken out by mistake as their soldiers pursued a rebel group near the Chadian border, resulting in the deaths of troops on both sides. They did not specify how many Central African soldiers had died.
A spokesman for Chad's army told Reuters on Tuesday that more troops had been deployed to the border in response to the incident.
"We were attacked on our territory by the army of a neighbouring country. So that this kind of thing does not repeat itself, we are obliged to reinforce security at the border," General Azem Bermandoa Agouna said.
A delegation from the Central African Republic visited Chad on Tuesday and met with Mahamat Idriss Deby, the son of Chad's late president Idriss Deby and head of its ruling military council.
After the meeting, representatives of the two countries agreed that an international commission of inquiry made up of agents from the U.N., A.U. and other regional bodies should be formed to investigate the incident.
"Anxious to preserve the centuries-old bonds of brotherhood and friendship, woven by geography and history, the two parties are committed to implementing the findings of the report of the international fact-finding commission," the statement said.