CHAD REBELS OPEN TO TRUCE TALKS BUT MILITARY REJECTS OFFER
Rebel fighters in Chad said on Sunday that they are ready to discuss a ceasefire after days of fighting that led to the death of President Idriss Deby, Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) reported.
In a statement to Chad’s civil society groups and opposition figures, the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) said they would observe a ceasefire if the Chadian military did so, too.
FACT’s representatives in Europe communicated the offer to Chadian civil society groups, said the civil society spokesman Wax Loalngar. The rebels also hope to begin a dialogue with Chadian authorities, with the oversight of the African Union.
However, Chad’s military leaders rejected FACT’s offer in a national television broadcast. Chadian troops and rebel fighters are locked in combat in Ziguey, a region about 350 kilometers northwest of the capital N’Djamena. Dozens of people have been killed in the fighting.
The heavily armed rebels entered northern Chad from Libya soon after the April 11 election. FACT is a military and political rebel movement founded in 2016 that seeks to destabilize Deby's government.
Deby was killed on the frontlines of battle. The announcement of his death came just a day after the country’s electoral commission announced he had won 79.32 percent of the vote.
Deby, in power for 30 years, faced increasing dissent in a country where mismanagement, corruption, nepotism, and falling oil prices have exacerbated poverty.
He was buried on Friday in a funeral attended by thousands of citizens, alongside French President Emmanuel Macron and the EU's top diplomat, Josep Borrell.
Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, the son of the late president, was immediately installed as president of an 18-month transitional military government and serves as president and chief of the army. The government and the National Assembly were dissolved.