Libyan-backed rebels attacked the government garrison at Oum Chalouba in northeast Chad for the third time in five days, Information Minister Soumalia Mahamat told reporters.
He said 2,000 Libyans and 1,000 ''mercenaries,'' backed by armor and artillery, attacked the garrison Tuesday morning, but they were repulsed. He said, however, the fighting was still going on in the early afternoon.
He said the ground attack - a repeat of a similar strike last Friday - followed two waves of bombing attacks Monday. He said six Libyan aircraft, which he identified as Soviet-built Sukhoi and Tupolev bombers, bombarded Oum Chalouba for 90 minutes, causing civilian casualties and considerable damage to military equipment.