World News

France to begin Chad humanitarian airlifts

PARIS (Reuters) - France will provide air support to humanitarian organizations supplying food and medicine to refugee camps in eastern Chad, a defense ministry spokesman said on Friday.

“At the request of the president of the republic, we will provide air transport between Abeche in eastern Chad and Goz Beida in the south-east of the country,” defense ministry spokesman Christophe Prazuck said.

The flights may begin from Sunday. He said between 30,000-40,000 refugees from Chad and the neighboring Darfur region were in refugee camps near Goz Beida.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner proposed the humanitarian airlifts when he visited the region recently but the offer was initially declined by the government of Chad.

A Transall transport aircraft will be added to three aircraft in place in the region. Engineers will be sent to back up a force of around 100 soldiers in place in Abeche.