Chad Invites Rebels for National Dialogue

Leader of Chad’s Transitional Military Council (CMT), Mahamat Idriss Deby, who seized power In April after his father, the former president, was killed while battling rebels has invited opposition armed groups to participate in a national dialogue.

The national discourse is expected to determine the future of the country, reversing previous statements that the government would not negotiate with rebels.

Armed groups were invited to take part in an “Inclusive National Dialogue”, before the presidential and legislative elections, Deby said.

Deby said in a speech, “The frank and sincere dialogue we all hope for will be open, in a specific manner, to the political-military movements.”

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“Petty practices, political calculations and rearguard battles that have already caused too much harm to our country must be banished forever,” he added.

Initially, the junta rejected the idea of negotiating with rebel groups, especially the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), which swept south from bases in Libya and reached within 300km of the capital N’Djamena in April.

Deby said rebels have “a patriotic obligation to reconsider their positions” and join hands with the transitional council build national unity.

Army spokesman, General Azem Bermandoa, said last week Thursday at least 20 Chadian soldiers were killed by suspected Boko Haram insurgents following an attack on their patrol around the Lake Chad area. The attack occurred at Tchoukou Telia, an island North-West of the capital N’Djamena, adding that the insurgents were later repelled by the army.

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Chad is a key contributor to a multinational force in the Lake Chad basin fighting Boko Haram insurgents, which erupted in northeast Nigeria in 2009.

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