Libyan troops reported moving south in Chad

Two columns of rebels backed by Libyan armor in northern Chad are advancing toward two government outposts, Chad Information Minister Soumalia Mahamat said.

He said the columns, each including up to 1,500 Libyan troops and around 100 Soviet-built T-62 and T-72 tanks, were moving along two roads that lead to the capital through the semidesert region. The western column was reportedly moving on the deserted Koro-Toro, which lies about 125 miles north of the government garrison at Salal, where an estimated 100 French paratroops are also stationed. The eastern column was heading for Oum Chalouba, 190 miles southeast of the oasis town of Faya-Largeau, a major rebel base.

In France, government spokesman Max Gallo said France wants a peaceful negotiated settlement to the Chad conflict, preferably through the framework of the Organization of African Unity.

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