12,000 Flee Darfur Raids for Chad

Sudanese gov't says attacks on 3 villages aimed at rebels
By John Abell,  Newser User
Posted Feb 10, 2008 10:27 AM CST
A French armored personnel carrier stands in front of N'Jamena, Chad, airport Saturday, Feb. 9, 2008. The UN peacekeeping chief warned that the conflict has wider implications, and that rivalry between...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – Government attacks on Darfur villages, ostensibly directed at rebel fighters, have caused a new exodus of at least 12,000 people from western Sudan into Chad, the BBC reports. The government acknowledges bombing three villages Friday, but said it was targeting fighters from the Justice and Equality Movement. Rebel leaders denied their people were in those villages.

Human Rights Watch said 150 people were killed in the raids, though many expected the toll to top 200. "Most are tribal leaders or teachers or people working for the state," one tribal leader told Reuters, while another added: "If someone kills the leadership of the tribe they mean to wipe it out completely." Officials warn that tensions along the Chad-Sudan border could explode.