In Chad, French troops continue to patrol the area of Ati, 180 miles (300 kilometres) north east of the capital N'Djamena formerly Fort Lamy.
In Chad, French troops continue to patrol the area of Ati, 180 miles (300 kilometres) north east of the capital N'Djamena formerly Fort Lamy. the region was the scene of a major defeat by French forces of the Chad Liberation Front (Frolinat) earlier this month.
SYNOPSIS: N'Djamena is one of the centres of French military operations. The civil war between Frolinat Arab fories and the Chad government has lasted over 12 years. Frolinat forces are predominantly Moslem and claim that the government has denied northern Chad its true Arab identity. They are backed by the Libyan Jamahiriyah and, recently, started to move south, threatening the capital. Chad President Felix Malloum requested French military aid and there are now over 1,500 French Legionnaires and paratroops based in the country.
France has also supplied its former colony with ten warplanes, supersonic Jaguar fighter bombers. The stepping up of the war came after attempts to call a ceasefire failed. In March, the Chad government signed a truce with Frolinat. The neighbouring states of Libya, Sudan and Niger acted as co-signatories. The Frolinat military initiative in April broke the terms of the ceasefire. They claim the presence of French troops breaks the terms of the pact.
Ati, the scene of the crushing defeat of Frolinat forces is now patrolled by the French troops.
Several hundred Frolinat guerrillas were killed in the battle. French forces captured two ground-to-air missiles and three anti-tank rocket launchers, all of Soviet and Rumanian origin. The French Defence Ministry in Paris announced that one legionnaire had been killed and two other seriously injured, but denied claims by Frolinat that 58 French soldiers had been killed. The three day battle resulted in the loss of one of the Jaguar aircraft which had been giving air support to the ground forces.