CHAD: Government, rebels reach peace deal

Friday, October 5, 2007

Libya-mediated peace talks in Tripoli have yielded a provisional deal between the Chadian government and several armed rebel groups, senior officials in the Chadian capital said.

“The contents have not yet been sent to us,” a Chadian government official in N’djamena told IRIN. “An official signing ceremony will be organised in the presence of a number of heads of state to make the document public.”

The largest rebel group to have signed up is the Union of Forces for Democracy and Development (UFDD), led by a regional power-broker Mahamat Nouri, the official said.

A separate peace deal signed between another smaller rebel group and the government on 1 September called for a total ceasefire and an amnesty for rebel fighters.

The talks in Libya are the latest in a series of attempts to mediate a lasting truce between Chad’s President Idriss Deby and rebel factions in eastern Chad who started fighting in 2005 when the president changed the country’s constitution to allow himself to run for a third term in office.

The rebel groups have engaged in several major battles and skirmishes with government forces and each other, contributing to the displacement of around 150,000 people in eastern Chad

There has been a lull in fighting in eastern Chad over the last three months because movement of troops and material is difficult during the annual rains. But the rains are expected to end in October and many analysts predict a resumption of fighting as well as attacks on civilians, even as the UN is mandated to send a peacekeeping force there.

Source: IRIN