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Chad forces bombard rebel positions on Libyan border

Chad forces bombarded rebel positions around Tibesti, a town in the far north on the Libyan border, security and local sources told AFP on Saturday.

A security source said the bombardment, which followed weeks of monitoring of rebel movements, targeted a site between the localities of Miski and Yebibou.

A local source said a dozen local people had been injured in the operation, which it said “targeted a wedding convoy” – an allegation which could not be independently confirmed.

Contacted by AFP, the armed forces made no comment.

Late last month, Chad launched ground and air operations in the area following an attack on a local town in mid-August blamed on a rebel group long based inside Libya.

Security Minister Ahmat Mahamat Bachir said the crackdown was designed to deal with an incursion of rebels opposed to President Idriss Deby as well as illegal miners whose arrival in recent years in an area troubled by a gold rush has fomented unrest with locals.

The largely desert northern Chad is sparsely populated and home to several rebel groups involved in people trafficking between Chad and neighbouring states Sudan, Niger and Libya.

Since the 2011 NATO-backed ousting of dictator Muammar Gaddafi, Libya has been divided between the unity government in Tripoli and a rival administration in the east of the country.

A myriad of militias, jihadist groups and people traffickers have taken advantage of the chaos.

Transitional authorities, including the GNA, have tried but failed to integrate the armed forces into a regular army, relying on militias to ensure the capital’s security.

In the summer of 2017, pro-GNA militias expelled several rival groups from the capital.

IS was dislodged from its stronghold in the coastal city of Sirte in 2016, with some surviving militants fleeing inland.

Libya is currently split between rival governments in the east and the west.

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