Chad unrest erupts in factional violence

French officials Monday reported hundreds of people have been killed in three days of fighting between political factions in the civil-war torn African nation of Chad. American diplomats scrambled for safety in the fighting in the capital of N'Djamena on Sunday, abandoned the US mission, and sought refuge in the French Embassy.

The French went ahead with plans to evacuate foreign nationals, including the US diplomats, although sources in Paris said the situation in the former French colony was calmer Monday than Sunday.

Chad, formerly part of French Equatorial Africa, has been troubled since independence from France in 1960 by rivalry between the Muslim herdsmen of the northern desert and grasslands and the Christian black population of the south. Muslim guerrillas have engaged in almost constant rebellion.

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