Monday, February 04, 2008

As we drove to Gourcy on Saturday afternoon, we listened to Radio France Info as long as we could keep the signal. The updates from N'djamena reported an evacuation, then the evacuation was cancelled, then it was back on again. The rebels held the city, but then, no, it was the government claiming victory.
As amazing as Gourcy was, we didn't get any news up there-at least, not of the international variety. It was an amazing visit and merits at least two long posts, which are forthcoming- probably later today.
Anyway, we got home late last night and I couldn't even get on the internet. Server down.
But early this morning, there was plenty of news to be had. Our friends are probably in Gabon, as most of the French and US expats have been evacuated to Libreville. RFI also broadcast an interview from there this morning. One of the French evacuees tells of how the group spent five hours laying on the floor of the airport terminal as the French Army exchanged fire with the rebels.
Hopefully, our friends Anne, Aygline and Daniel are with this group, safe and now getting ready to go to France.
Here's an excerpt from the latest news, published just minutes ago:
Chad rebels 'pushed from capital'
Car and French tank in aftermath of fighting in N'Djamena, Chad
Witnesses reported heavy fighting in the capital on Sunday
Rebels seeking to overthrow Chad's president have been driven out of the capital, the government has said.

The rebels say they have made a strategic withdrawal to the eastern edge of N'Djamena, after entering the city over the weekend.

Aid agencies have reported many dead bodies on the streets and hundreds being treated in hospitals.

The Chadian government said it had quashed the rebellion.

"The whole of N'Djamena is under control and these mercenaries in the pay of Sudan have been scattered," Interior Minister Ahmat Mahamat Bachir told French radio RFI.

"The sun has gone down now, but the pursuit will continue tomorrow."

But rebel leaders said they were giving civilians a chance to flee before launching another offensive.

Chadian rebels seized control of large parts of the capital on Saturday, approaching the palace where President Idriss Deby was holding out.

On Sunday, fierce fighting in the capital continued. Rebels were reported to have stormed the national radio offices before looters ransacked the building.

N'Djamena's main market was also looted and torched after being hit by a missile, witnesses told AFP news agency.

Hundreds of foreigners, many of them French, have been evacuated to Gabon in central Africa.

You can read all of it from the BBC here.

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