Home | News    Monday 25 December 2006

Chad president and rebel leader sign peace accord

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Dec 24, 2006 (RABAT) — Chad’s president and the leader of a rebel faction that tried to oust him earlier this year signed a peace accord in Libya late on Sunday, but other Chadian insurgents dismissed the deal and vowed to fight on.

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Idriss Deby meets Mahamat Nour, who heads the United Front for Change (FUC), on 17 December 2006 in Guerada, north-eastern Chad. (AFP)

Several rebel groups bent on overthrowing President Idriss Deby have been fighting a low-intensity war in the desert, mountains and scrub of eastern Chad, occasionally striking further west.

"Our movement was in a great struggle," rebel military chief Mahamat Nour Abdelkerim said at the signing ceremony in Tripoli, as Deby and Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi looked on.

"Our people suffered...but now we must speed national reconciliation and bring peace to our country."

Nour, whose forces raided the Chadian capital N’Djamena in April, called on the other rebel groups to sign the peace agreement and join the Chadian government.

"This is a great day for us," said Deby. "Today we made a step forward on the path towards peace in Chad."

Deby has accused Sudan of backing and arming the rebels fighting to end his 16-year-old rule as well as Arab Janjaweed militia raiders from over the border, accusations that Khartoum denies.

The Tripoli talks were the initiative of Gaddafi, who has been pressing Chad and Sudan to settle their differences as part of international efforts to bring peace to Sudan’s western region of Darfur.

Deby met Nour last weekend and discussed the possibility of the former army captain returning to the government side.

However, other rebels groups said Nour was an isolated figure and dismissed the reconciliation as a non-event.

The rebel alliance still under arms includes the Union of Forces for Democracy and Development (UFDD), the Rally of Democratic Forces (RAFD), and the Platform for Change, National Unity and Democracy (SCUD).

Makaila Nguebla, a spokesman in Dakar for the National Rally for Democracy (RND), another of the groups in the rebel alliance, said on Sunday the insurgents would fight on.

"For us this changes nothing. We’re not interested in any mediation by Gaddafi, or by France, or by anyone. We are going to continue to fight this regime," he told Reuters by telephone.

(Reuters)

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