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Chadian Shoots at French Soldiers

AFP (5/9/12)

N'DJAMENA — A man thought to be a Chadian soldier shot at two French soldiers as they left a military base near the capital N'Djamena on Wednesday, injuring one troop in the elbow, officials said.

"The two French soldiers left their base in a vehicle," a French embassy official in Chad told AFP. "As they were about to take a main road, someone riding a motorcycle fired four times in the direction of the French soldiers, hitting one in the elbow."

A local police officer said the shooter was a Chadian soldier and had been arrested. The wounded soldier was taken to a French medical office and was due to be evacuated. His condition was not serious.

French military officials said two soldiers had been targeted while in military uniform. They were riding in a civilian vehicle with French military plates.

"At a stop, an individual opened fire with a handgun," said Colonel Thierry Burkhard, adding the shooter was a former military member.

He said an enquiry was underway in conjunction with Chad authorities.

The French have maintained a presence of about 950 men as well as fighter jets in Chad since 1986.

France's presence in its former colony is resented by part of the population, who feel France is too involved in the central African nation's decisions.

Chad President Idriss Deby Itno has protested the base, also arguing that Paris is not paying for its presence.

Some Chadians are angry at France for supporting his regime, in power since 1990.

French military officials have said a Chad base is useful for surveillance against armed groups including Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

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