Since April, Togolese authorities have been holding series of negotiations aimed at seeking ways of bringing peace in the country.
Talks aimed at bringing long and lasting peace in the Republic of Chad are afoot in the Togolese capital Lome. According to the Chadian Press, Togolese authorities have since April, 2021 been organizing meetings between representatives of the Transitional Military Council headed by Mahamat Deby and Chadian rebel groups to seek ways of dropping their weapons and participate in the National Dialogue to take place in N'Djamena. Media sources say the negotiations were first limited to the four main political-military groups in Chad; the Union of Resistance Forces (URF), the Military Command Council for the Salvation of the Republic (CCMSR), the National Front for Democracy and Justice (FNDJT) and the Front for Change and Concord (FACT), then extended to five additional armed groups, before narrowing again to the four original groups.
RFI reports that after several rounds of talks, the position of the rebel groups seems irreconcilable with that of the Chadian authorities. Not only are the rebels calling for a general amnesty, the release of prisoners of war and political prisoners, they are refusing to recognize the Transitional Military Council headed by Mahamat Idriss Deby as the legitimate authority. A source closed to the negotiation table told the French media outlet that though the road promises to be long and difficult, the success of the ongoing negotiations would be a major diplomatic victory for Lome authorities, who have already encouraged the return to Chad of a prominent opposition figure, Hassan Fadoul Tikri, after 21 years of exile in Togo.
It should be noted that among the four main rebel groups aiming for the capital are the Front for Change and Concord (FACT), led by Mahamat Mahadi Ali, a longtime Deby opponent who formed the shadowy group in 2016 after leaving another rebel group, the Union of Forces for Democracy and Development. Until earlier this month, FACT forces had been based in southern Libya, where they claimed neutrality in the Libyan conflict. However, a recent U.N. experts' report found that FACT forces in southern Libya were guarding Libyan military bases under the command of Field Marshall Khalifa Hifter.