(Bloomberg) -- Chad wants to freeze the bank accounts of Cameroon Oil Transportation Company (COTCO) to stop them being accessed by directors of Savannah Energy Plc, escalating a dispute over Savannah’s acquisition of Exxon Mobil Corp.’s oil assets in both countries.

Chad, which owns 54% of COTCO, asked lenders managing that company’s accounts “not to act on instructions to move funds, particularly abroad,” according to a statement released on Friday by COTCO. Such a move would require the approval of management, it said. Chad wants the management replaced.

Chad has challenged December’s $407 million purchase by London-based Savannah of assets including a stake in COTCO, saying the final terms were inconsistent with those that had been shared with authorities a year earlier. The dispute escalated in March when Chad nationalized the assets on its side of the border, including Savannah’s share of the more than 900 kilometer (560 miles) Chad-Cameroon oil pipeline.

In an emailed response, Savannah referred to COTCO’s statement. It has said it holds an effective 41% indirect equity interest in COTCO as a result of the acquisition.

Cameroon’s Mines and Energy Minister Fuh Calistus Gentry declined to comment when reached by phone.

Chad has been under military rule since 2021 when Interim President General Mahamat Deby replaced his father, former President Idriss Deby, who was killed fighting rebels in northern Chad, according to the government.

--With assistance from Pius Lukong.

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