DOHA: More than 30 rebel and opposition factions signed a peace pact with Chad’s transitional authorities on Monday, agreeing to join broader talks after years of turmoil – though the most powerful insurgent group refused to take part.
Delegates meeting in Doha broke into applause after the rebels agreed to cease fire and participate in a national dialogue that Chad’s leader has said could pave the way to elections in the central African country.
But the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) – a Libya-based group that threatened to march on the capital last year – quickly rejected the deal, saying negotiators had not listened to its demands, including for the release of prisoners. The rejection by FACT and at least eight other rebel factions cast a pall over celebrations of the agreement which was hammered out after months of talks in Qatar’s capital.
The interim military government is headed by Mahamat Idriss Deby, who seized power last year after his father – longtime ruler Idriss Deby – was killed while visiting troops fighting FACT and other rebels in the north.
Initially, the Transitional Military Council said it would oversee an 18-month transition to democratic rule, but it has shown little sign of organising elections as that deadline has neared.