A Chadian rebel group vowed, on Monday, February 11th, to continue its campaign against President Idriss Deby, despite losses after government troops, supported by French air strikes, targeted its fighters last week.
Youssouf Hamid, the spokesman for the Union of Resistance Forces (UFR) told AFP that, losing a battle doesn’t mean losing the war.
The Chadian military announced on Saturday, February 9th, that it had detained more than 250 rebels, including some top leaders, after an operation against a convoy of militants tried to cross into the country from Libya in late January, with the support of French airstrikes.
Hamid revealed details about the operation that had targeted his fighters saying that "about 30" fighters, who had taken shelter in a cave after the French attacks, surrendered to the Chadian army "without fighting".
Hamid added, "We didn't know that France would intervene. Normally, they do intelligence-gathering, which we know about. We didn't expect them to carry out strikes".
"It wasn't a fight between us (UFR fighters) and the Chadian fighters. It was France that did the fighting, not Chadians," he said.
Meanwhile, France confirmed that its jets, based near the Chadian capital N'Djamena, intervened at the government's request.
The French armed forces said in a statement, “Acting in conjunction with Chad's government, French Mirage 2000 jets targeted the convoy on Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday, destroying about 20 of roughly 50 pickup trucks the rebels started out with”.