July 13, 2008 / 2:00 PM / in 11 years

Chad accuses Sudan of violating its airspace

N’DJAMENA (Reuters) - Chad has accused neighboring Sudan of violating its airspace by flying over a Chadian town on the border with Sudan’s violence-torn Darfur, and said it will not tolerate any further violation of its territory.

Relations between the oil-producing neighbors have long been tense, with each accusing the other of supporting insurgent groups. Rebel attacks across the border in both directions over the last two months have brought them close to war.

“Sudan’s air force has multiplied flights over ... Bahay, in Chad, over the last few days,” Chadian Information Minister Mahamat Hissene said in a statement released late on Saturday.

An Antonov-type Sudanese military aircraft flew over Bahay’s gendarmerie at low altitude on Friday, Hissene said, adding that air incursions were often preparation for attacks on the ground.

“Chad will not tolerate any further violation of its airspace,” the statement said, adding that steps had been taken to inform the U.N. Security Council and the African Union.

Sudan and Chad signed a non-aggression pact in Senegal in mid-March.

But Darfuri rebels opposed to Bashir raided the Sudanese capital Khartoum in May, while rebels seeking to topple Deby in June attacked towns in eastern Chad where European Union troops are protecting thousands of civilian refugees.

The two countries blamed each other for the attacks.

(For full Reuters Africa coverage and to have your say on the top issues, visit: africa.reuters.com/)

Reporting by Moumine Ngarmbassa; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Catherine Evans

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