KHARTOUM, (Reuters) – Sudan accused its neighbour Chad of a third airstrike on its territory on Saturday and signalled it might be open to a political solution to the growing conflict.
“There was another airstrike this morning at around 10am,” said Ali Youssef Ahmed, head of protocol at Sudan’s Foreign Ministry. “This aggression continues (and) this makes the situation graver,” he added.
Sudan on Friday accused Chad of launching two bombing raids on its territory, saying they constituted an “act of war”. Chad has said Sudan sent rebel forces over its border earlier this month, raising fears of the collapse of a recent peace deal.
Relations between the two countries have become entangled in Sudan’s festering Darfur conflict and each country has accused the other of supporting rebels inside their territories.
No one was immediately available to comment from the Chadian government. But Chadian officials earlier this month were reported saying they had the right to attack any insurgents taking refuge inside Sudan’s borders.
Brigadier Uthman al-Agbash, spokesman for Sudan’s armed forces, told reporters on Saturday he was still waiting for a signal from the government on how to respond to the attacks. He suggested that the authorities might be seeking a diplomatic solution. “This incident is tied up with political, social and economic issues and will not be solved by a military option,” he said, adding that no one was injured in the three air strikes.
Agbash added he thought a third nation may have supported Chad in the attack, a possible reference to France which Sudan accuses of backing the N’Djamena regime. “These (raids) are beyond Chad’s capability and that means Chad was not alone,” he said.
Ali Youssef Ahmed of the Sudanese foreign ministry told Reuters that Sudan had not ruled any options when it came to responding to the attacks. But he said Sudan had already stepped up diplomatic activity since the airstrikes and was consulting with neighbours including Ethiopia.
High-level discussions were going in with the African Union he added and Senegal, which has acted as a peace broker between Sudan and Chad in the past, had sent a delegation to Khartoum.