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Chad accuses Central African Republic troops of war crime

Chadian soldiers in Atar, Mauritania, February 23, 2019.

Chad's defense ministry has accused troops from neighboring Central African Republic (CAR) of attacking a Chadian military post and committing acts of aggression that it said amounted to a war crime.

In an official statement on Monday, the ministry claimed that gunmen attacked an outpost manned by 12 Chadian soldiers near Chad's 1,000-km border with CAR, killed one soldier, and kidnapped and executed five others in the early hours of Sunday.

The ministry branded the attack as an “extremely serious war crime,” adding that, “This premeditated murderous attack, planned and carried out within Chad ... cannot go unpunished.”

Chad's embassy in the capital city of Bangui was allegedly told by the head of CAR's military police to collect the executed bodies of the soldiers.

Chadian Foreign Minister Cherif Mahamat Zene confirmed in a statement that five of the captured soldiers were “executed in Mbang on the Central African Republic side.”

The Central African Republic, which has been ravaged by instability since a 2013 insurrection toppled President Francois Bozize, has not responded to the allegations yet.

Chad is seen as the dominant military force in the region. It is supported by France and the US, which in turn need the cooperation of the Chadian military in the region.

The country played a key part in African efforts to stabilize CAR for a period before withdrawing its forces in 2014.

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