Fierce fighting with tanks and helicopter strikes rocked the capital of Chad for a second day on Sunday as rebels surrounded President Idriss Déby Itno in his palace and hundreds of foreigners fled the country. International aid organisations reported bodies in the streets and hundreds of people wounded.
Rebels seized Chad's capital, Ndjamena, on Saturday after intense fighting with government forces, military and rebel sources said, as President Idriss Déby Itno remained holed up in the presidential palace. ''The whole of the city is in the hands of the rebels. It's down to mopping-up operations,'' said a military source.
Fighting broke out between Chadian rebels and government forces just north of the capital on Saturday, both sides said, as France prepared to evacuate its nationals in the face of the rebel advance. ''Fighting between government forces and rebels has started at about 20km north of Ndjamena,'' a military source said.
Rescuers began the grisly task of removing bodies from the wreckage of a Kenyan Airways plane lying in swamps of south-west Cameroon on Monday after a crash that killed all 114 people on board. It took 36 hours to find the wreckage of the almost new aircraft 20km south-west of Douala.
Idriss Déby Itno seemed assured on Thursday of re-election as Chad's president, but the expected victory has already been clouded by new threats of violence by armed rebels in the desert country. Independent observers said the poll itself on Wednesday drew a low turnout following a boycott call by the opposition amid charges of vote-rigging.
Chadian rebels who advanced on the capital in a fleet of brand-new Toyotas had clear support from Sudan, which wants to replace President Idriss Déby Itno with a pro-Sudanese leader, diplomats and human rights groups here said on Tuesday.