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the views of the United Nations]
NDJAMENA, 27 September (IRIN)
- A group of unidentified armed men in military uniform crossed into Chad from Sudan early on Monday, killing 36 herders and stealing livestock, the Chadian government said.
In a statement on Tuesday, the government said the attack took place in the village of Madayouna in the Ouaddai region of eastern Chad.
"The riposte by the armed forces stationed in the region was rapid," the statement said.
Seven of the assailants were killed and eight detained, one of whom later died in detention, it added. Two Chadian soldiers were killed and five injured.
Eastern Chad has been gripped with tension since the Darfur conflict in western Sudan broke two years ago. Hostilities have repeatedly spilled across the border into the region where some 200,000 Sudanese refugees are living in camps.
An aid worker in Adre, a border town near the site of Monday's attack, told IRIN that French troops in eastern Chad have recently stepped up patrols in the area after increased activity by armed groups on the Sudanese side.
Chad President Idriss Deby, who initially took office in a coup in 1990 with the backing of Khartoum, has long had to perform a delicate balancing act in eastern Chad, the site of sporadic rebel movements over the last 15 years.
Last April, Chad accused Sudan of backing a 3,000-strong rebel force operating on the border.
Tuesday's government statement said the authorities had contacted the Sudanese embassy in Chad "to make known its worry about this grave situation and to invite the Sudanese government to take the necessary measures at its borders from where these insurgents came."
A delegation of government ministers and military leaders left N'djamena for the border area on Tuesday afternoon.
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