The leader of Darfur’s most powerful rebel movement was refused entry to Chad and has been detained on an airplane in the Chadian capital Ndjamena. The chairman of the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) Khalil Ibrahim had travelled from Egypt to Libya, where he spent a few hours, then from Libya to Chad. Chadian security forces destroyed the passports of Khalil and his entire entourage. They removed the ladder from the plane so that Khalil could not get out. The rebel leader himself told Reuters news agency by phone from the airplane that Chadian authorities ordered him to return to Libya. A source told Radio Dabanga that Libya would accept to host the rebel leader if he accepts conditions including not making any phone calls. A spokesman for JEM added that Chadian authorities are trying to pressure the rebel delegation to go back to Doha in the Arabian Gulf state of Qatar, where JEM suspended its participation at peace negotiations with the Sudanese government. Spokesman Ahmed Hussein Adam described the event as a “conspiracy against the movement.”
JEM battled the Sudanese army in recent days after its withdrawal from the peace talks early this month. The rebel movement previously had bases in Chad and used the capital as a transit point for its officials. But lately, rapprochement between Chad and Sudan, formalized with an accord in January 2010, has put JEM under considerably more pressure. The movement moved more of its troops into Darfur and sent many officials out of Chad.