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Exiled rebel leader returns to Chad for national talks

On Thursday, in Chad, after 17 years in exile, Timan Erdimi, one of Chad’s most established rebel leaders, returned home to participate in national discussions to prepare for elections after the military took over last year.

Last week, a peace agreement was struck by more than 30 rebel and opposition groups with the interim government in Chad, agreeing to join broader talks scheduled to begin on Saturday. However, the most powerful insurgent group refused to partake.

The nephew of former President Idriss Deby, Erdimi, left Chad in 2005 to lead an insurgency against his uncle’s government.

The Libya-based Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) are groups that threatened to march in N’Djamena last year upon their new leaders’ arrival and denied their right to participate in the agreement due to issues that have gone on in the past. Both groups claim that negotiators don’t listen to their demands, including the release of prisoners.  

After Chad’s former leader died on the battlefield in April of last year, his son, Mahamat Idriss Deby, was appointed provisional president by the military. When it first assumed power, the Mahamat Idriss Deby-led military junta promised to oversee an 18-month transition to democracy, but as that date draws closer, it has made little progress in setting up elections.

Deby started negotiations with various opposition forces that had long opposed his father’s government. Erdimi arrived by plane in the capital N’Djamena and said he hoped the national dialogue would reunite the country.


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