The Chadian army said Monday it had killed 300 rebels in the north of the country at the weekend, adding that it had lost five of its soldiers.
A heavily armed rebel group had launched a raid from its rear base in Libya on April 11, the same day as Chad’s presidential election that is expected to see the incumbent Idriss Deby Itno returned to power.
The raid by the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) has since resulted in “more than 300 rebels neutralised” and claimed the lives of five government troops, army spokesman General Azem Bermandoa Agouna told AFP.
Bermandoa said 36 soldiers had been wounded in fighting on Saturday and 150 rebels taken prisoner, including three senior members.
The government has said that the rebel offensive in the provinces of Tibesti and Kanem was over.
Fighting resumed late Sunday afternoon, General Bermandoa said, adding however that calm had returned to the area.
FACT, for its part, said in a statement on Sunday that it had “liberated” the Kanem region that saw clashes on Saturday.
Bermandoa said 24 vehicles had been seized and that mopping-up operations were ongoing to “track down the last ones fleeing”.
Tanks were deployed in the main roads of the Chadian capital N’Djamena, an AFP journalist reported.
The Tibesti mountains near the Libyan frontier frequently see fighting between rebels and the army, as well as in the northeast bordering Sudan. French air strikes were needed to stop an incursion there in February 2019.
The Union of Resistance Forces (UFR), led by Deby’s nephew Timan Erdimi, had entered Chad from Libya in columns of pick-up trucks.
The UFR said Sunday that it supported FACT, but without saying whether its fighters took part Saturday’s clash.
The UFR was allied with Chadian rebels in 2008 when they launched a coup attempt, stopped at the gates of the presidential palace by a French military intervention.