Chad Rebels Ready to 'Observe Ceasefire'

(File photo).

The FACT rebel group, which has been accused of killing President Idriss Deby, says it is willing to discuss a political settlement for the country's future.

Rebels in Chad, accused by the military of killing ruler Idriss Deby Itno, are ready to "observe a ceasefire," a spokesman said on Sunday.

Deby's death pushed the central African country into political turmoil as the rebels strongly opposed his son's seizing of power.

The rebels, known as the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), traveled over Chad's northern border from Libya on April 11, calling for an end to Deby's 30-year rule.

FACT had advanced as close as 200-300 kilometers (125-185 miles) from the capital, N'Djamena.

Chad's military said on Saturday it bombarded the rebels "to the verge of despair" to stop their advancement on the city.

What did FACT say?

"We have affirmed our availability to observe a truce, a ceasefire ... but this morning we were bombarded again", Mahamat Mahadi Ali, head of FACT, told AFP late Saturday.

"We cannot respect the truce unilaterally. A truce must be made on both sides. We will not fold our arms and let ourselves be massacred," he added.

Another spokesman confirmed the group's intentions to Reuters.

"FACT is ready to observe a ceasefire for a political settlement that respects the independence and sovereignty of Chad and does not endorse a coup d'etat," FACT spokesman Kingabe Ogouzeimi de Tapol told Reuters on Sunday.

What happened in Chad?

The military said Deby died fighting FACT rebels.

A military council headed by Deby's son, Mahamat Idriss Deby, took power after Deby's death, vowing to oversee an 18-month transition to elections.

Opposition politicians called the power grab a coup, and FACT said it would not support a "monarchy."

Activists have called for peaceful protests and a national dialogue to end the crisis.

On Friday, France and other allies voiced support for Mahamat Deby during his father's funeral.

The slain president was a key partner to Western powers in counterterrorism operations in the region.

President Emmanuel Macron said: "France will never let anyone, either today or tomorrow, challenge Chad's stability and integrity."

He also called on the military government to foster "stability, inclusion, dialogue, democratic transition."

fb/mm (AFP, Reuters)

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