Chad leader remains, French say
Describing unconfirmed reports of an attempted Libyan-backed coup d'etat in Chad as ''overdramatized,'' French government sources said the situation in N'Djamena, the capital, remained calm, Monitor correspondent Edward Girardet reports.
According to the sources, a French official met with President Goukhouni Woddei of Chad Thursday morning and said he was still in control. He saw no sign of pro-Libya troops which had reportedly entered the capital earlier this week.
Independent sources, however, reported severe tension in the capital Wednesday. For several hours Libyan troops and Woddei supporters faced each other in an armed standoff, but there was no shooting. Hundreds of refugees fled across the river into Cameroon, fearing a renewed outbreak of hostilities. The sources also reported a beefing up of Libyan forces, with several planes flying in troops during the night.
Relations between President Woddei and Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi have deteriorated seriously in recent weeks.
Although Woddei has not actually demanded a withdrawal of the estimated 10, 000 Libyan troops occupying Chad soil, he said he would welcome an Organization of African Unity peacekeeping force to replace them. Matters came to a head earlier this month when Libya apparently put heavy pressure on Woddei to sign an agreement giving the go-ahead for a merger between Chad and Libya. Colonel Qaddafi denied this in a letter to French President Francois Mitterrand.