Chad + 2 more

Factbox: Chad-CAR-Sudan triangle is crucible of violence

Aug 8 (Reuters) - The United Nations began distributing food aid on Wednesday to some 26,000 refugees from Central African Republic who have fled to neighbouring Cameroon in waves to escape relentless attacks by rebels and bandits.

Here are some facts about the violent border triangle area between Central African Republic, Chad and Sudan.

WHICH COUNTRIES ARE IN THE TRIANGLE?

* CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC - Central African Republic, one of the world's poorest countries despite diamond wealth, lies in the centre of Africa encompassing rainforest in the southwest to savannah in the north.

-- The 4 million population has a life expectancy of 42 years and an average income of $260 a year, according to World Bank statistics.

* CHAD - Chad became an oil producer in 2003 with the completion of a $3.7 billion pipeline linking oilfields to terminals on the Atlantic coast. In 2005, it was ranked the world's most corrupt country by Transparency International.

* SUDAN - At 2.5 million sq km (967,500 sq miles), Sudan is Africa's largest country straddling the middle reaches of the Nile. Oil in Sudan was a crucial catalyst in its bitter north-south conflict.

CONFLICT IN THE TRIANGLE/DOMESTIC TURMOIL:

* CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC - The country has had 11 mutinies or attempted coups in the past decade. President Francois Bozize seized power in a coup in 2003 before legitimising his presidency through 2005 elections.

-- The United Nations has estimated 220,000 people have been forced from their homes since the latest violence began in 2005.

* CHAD - A lightning assault on N'Djamena in April 2006 was launched from the east by rebels in an unsuccessful bid to overthrow President Idriss Deby, who went on to win elections.

* SUDAN - Rebels in Darfur took up arms against the government in 2003, saying Khartoum discriminated against mostly non-Arabs there.

CROSS-BORDER TENSIONS:

-- A rebel attack late last year on the Central African Republic town of Birao more than 800 km (500 miles) from the capital Bangui marked a spillover south of the Darfur conflict.

-- The leaders of Sudan, Chad and Central African Republic said in February they would not back rebels attacking each other's territory -- a pledge that has failed to stop fighting in the past.

-- Violence in Darfur has expanded into Chad, which accuses Sudan of supporting rebels launching cross-border attacks. An estimated 200,000 people have been killed.

-- Janjaweed militia fighters, allied to the Sudanese army against Sudanese rebels in Darfur, have also staged cross-border raids into Chad and appear allied with some Chadian rebels.

-- Deby's government has repeatedly accused Sudan of backing the rebels, including by allowing them to strike from Sudanese territory. Khartoum denies the charge.

-- In the summit statement issued at the end of the gathering of African leaders in Libya on Thursday, convened to advance Darfur peace efforts, leaders of Sudan, Chad, Libya and Eritrea said Chad and Sudan had agreed not to interfere in each other's internal affairs.

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Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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