N'DJAMENA Chad has charged four allies of the country's former president with human rights abuses and issued warrants for their arrest, a senior government source said on Friday.
The source, who asked not to be identified, said they were wanted in connection with atrocities carried out during the rule of the country's last leader Hissene Habre.
Habre fled to Senegal after he was ousted in a coup by current President Idriss Deby in 1990.
There were no details of the specific accusations against his former officials.
But Senegal, under pressure from the International Court of Justice and campaign groups, has set up a special court to look into allegations 40,000 people were killed or tortured during Habre's rule.
Rights campaigners have accused Habre, 70, of using his political police to target political opponents and rival ethnic groups after seizing power in an earlier military coup in the landlocked oil-producing central African state in 1982.
"Those sought include Mahamat Nouri, Bandoum Bandjim, Bichara Idriss Haggar and Abakar Torbo," the senior government official at the justice ministry told Reuters.
General Mahamat Nouri was a minister in Habre's and later Deby's government and is now exiled in France.
Bandjim Bandoum - a former gendarme officer in Habre's feared secret police, the Documentation and Security Directorate (DDS) - is also in France.
Former police chief Abakar Torbo has sought refuge in neighboring Cameroon while Bichara Idriss Haggar, the top official of Habre's political party, lives in exile in Canada.
Nouri, who fell out with Deby and went on to form the UFDD rebel coalition, on Friday denied the charge against him.
"I have nothing to with this. When there were security problems in the south, Deby was the chief of staff. I was not in any way involved in the security structure. If there is anyone who should be charged it is Deby himself," Nouri told French radio RFI.
Nouri's rebel fighters reached the gates of the presidential palace in N'Djamena in 2008, nearly toppling Deby.
Deby, 60, who was a senior member of Habre's administration, has survived countless rebellions since he took power and has emerged as a regional power broker.
(Reporting by Madjiasra Nako; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Andrew Heavens)