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Chad: Rebels “willing” to participate in national dialogue

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Chad’s main rebel groups said Tuesday they were “willing” to participate in the national dialogue “under certain conditions” after meetings in Doha and Paris with the committee in charge of preparing the event.

Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, who took power in Chad following the death of his father Idriss Déby Itno, who was killed in April while fighting rebels, set up a special technical committee (CTS) in August to prepare for the inclusive national dialogue, which should lead to presidential and legislative elections.

Timane Erdimi, the leader of the Union of Resistance Forces (UFR), an alliance of several rebel groups, who has been living in exile in Qatar for the past decade, said he was “willing to participate in the pre-dialogue and the Inclusive National Dialogue under certain conditions,” according to a statement from the STC.

“In particular, they have asked for the release of prisoners of war, a general amnesty for all politico-militaries, and the return of rebel property seized by the government. We are working to have the seized property returned,” said Allamine Bourma Tréyé, CTS communications officer.

UFR fighters had notably launched an offensive against the Chadian capital in 2019. Coming from Libya via Sudan, they had been stopped in northeastern Chad by bombing by French fighter planes at the request of N’Djamena.

The CTS had already indicated on Friday that it had met with some 20 leaders of armed groups in Paris, including representatives of the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), which was responsible for the offensive during which President Idriss Déby was killed.

“The meetings took place in a fraternal atmosphere of mutual respect and courtesy. They were fruitful because of the active and constructive participation of each party,” the CTS said. The FACT gave its conditions in a statement, including “a definitive end to the repression of all peaceful demonstrations” and “the release of prisoners of war.

Mahamat Idriss Déby has multiplied the signs of openness to armed groups to get them to participate in a national dialogue supposed to reconcile Chadians. In particular, he promised “concrete actions in terms of the amnesty, the release of prisoners of war, restitution of property and professional reintegration.