Paris scrambled to contain a row sparked by a French charity’s bid to airlift more than 100 children out of Chad, a key ally for Europe’s peacekeeping strategy in Sudan’s war-ravaged Darfur region. President Idriss Deby Itno reacted furiously to the botched operation, even suggesting the charity Zoe’s Ark planned to sell the children to paedophiles or “kill them and remove their organs.” Nine French nationals, seven Spaniards and a Belgian are facing possible child trafficking charges over the case, which has strained ties with France’s former colony. French President Nicolas Sarkozy telephoned Deby condemning the operation as “illegal and unacceptable” as Paris sought to limit the fallout. (AFP)

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