Chadian army claims victory over northern rebels | News from armed groups

The military and authorities have previously said they defeated the rebel group FACT only to keep the fighting going.

The Chadian army was victorious in its weeks-long battle with rebels from the north which led to death frontline President Idriss Deby.

On Sunday, the rebel group Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) did not respond to a request for comment on the military’s claim. Transitional military authorities have previously said they defeated the rebels only to keep the fighting going.

The fighting and the wider political instability are being watched closely. Chad is a key power in Central Africa and a longtime Western ally against rebel fighters in the Sahel region.

Crowds in the capital N’Djamena cheered on Sunday as the soldiers returned from the front line in a column of tanks and armored vehicles.

“The triumphant return of the army to the barracks today announces the end of operations and the victory of Chad,” the army chief of staff, Abakar Abdelkerim Daoud, told reporters.

At a military base in N’Djamena, dozens of captured rebels sat in the dirt, exposed to the assembled press.

A group of captured FACT rebels are on display with their confiscated weapons and vehicles at the Chadian army headquarters in N’Djamena [AFP]

FACT fighters crossed the Libyan border in April to take a stand against Deby, whose 30-year rule they opposed. His subsequent death during the visit of the troops plunged the country into crisis.

On Saturday, security forces fired tear gas to disperse a demonstration against the ruling military council. Led by Deby’s son Mahamat Idriss Itno, the council seized power after the former’s death, promising to oversee an 18-month transition to elections.

Opposition politicians and civil society denounced the takeover as a coup and called on supporters to take to the streets. At least five people were killed during a demonstration April 27.

French President Emmanuel Macron had signaled strong military support during Deby’s funeral he attended, sitting next to Deby’s son, Mahamat. But the French government has since changed, calling for a civilian government of national unity.

People had planned another protest on Sunday, but postponed it over fears that the authorities would consider violently cracking down on it, Mahamat Nour Ibedou, a prominent human rights activist, told Reuters news agency.

The military council had authorized a demonstration on Sunday.

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