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FACT refuses Chad government's peace deal with rebel groups

This image shows a general view of the venue during the signing an agreement for a national dialog between Chad's transitional military government and rebels at Sheraton Hotel in Doha, Qatar on August 8, 2022. (Photo by Reuters)

The Chadian main insurgent group has refused to join a peace deal signed between the government and rebel groups.

More than 40 rebel groups signed the national reconciliation deal in the Qatari capital, Doha, on Monday, but the Central African country’s main rebel group, the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), refused to take part in the deal despite all efforts by the mediators.

Under the new deal, the opposition groups and the military government of Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, also known as Kaka who seized power following his father's death, will initiate reconciliation talks aimed at paving the way for a smooth democratic transition within 18 months.

Kaka, 38, who leads the Transitional Military Council (TMC), took power in April last year after FACT fighters led a rebel offensive in which his father, Idriss Deby Itno, who had been president for 30 years, was killed.

He proposed the start of the national dialog with rebels and members of the civil society, trade unions, political parties and government officials to agree on a constitutional framework to hold a presidential election.

Under the Doha peace deal, the national reconciliation dialog is scheduled to begin its work on August 20 in N’Djamena. The deal commits signatories to a ceasefire during the talks. The military government has also guaranteed the safety of rebel leaders who attend the talks.

Fadoul Hissein, from the National Council for Reform, one of the groups that inked the peace deal, said, “All Chadians will be happy with this deal.”

He said the FACT group, which is estimated to have between 1,500 and 2,000 members, is welcome to join the deal.

“The peace agreement is still open for anyone to come and join in the future. I urge anyone who has not signed to do so. They [FACT] are welcomed in the future to sign this agreement,” he added.

Chad has had little stability since its independence in 1960, and the coming talks are being widely watched, as the country is seen as a key ally in international efforts to counter armed groups fighting around the region.

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