Rebels in northern Chad have said they are ready to observed a ceasefire and discuss a political settlement following the death of president Idriss Deby this week.
In a statement released on Sunday, the spokesperson for Front for Change and Concorde in Chad (FACT) however said the rebels are ready for talks that respect the independence and sovereignty of Chad but not a coup.
The army on Tuesday announced that Idriss Deby who had ruled Chad for 30 years had died as a result of injuries sustained on the frontline. The army also said a transitional military council had installed Deby’s son, Gen Mahmat Kaka, to take charge of the country for 18 months “to assure the defense of Chad against terrorism and evil forces”.
The announcement came a day after it was announced that Deby was projected to win a sixth consecutive term in elections held earlier this month, having ruled the country since 1990.
“Fact is ready to observe a ceasefire for a political settlement that respects the sovereignty and independence of Chad and does not endorse a coup-d’état” Kingabe Ogouzeimi, the FACT spokesperson stated.
The rebels admitted that the air force has since bombarded their positions but could not disclose causalities suffered. The military on Saturday claimed it had “anihilated” rebels.
The military is however under pressure to hand over power to a civilian transitional government as soon as possible. The continental body -African Union expressed “grave concern” about military take-over while France -Chad’s strongest ally and regional powers are pushing for a civilian-military position.
United Nations also stated that it’s representatives are engaging both sides over the matter.
Observers say, any agreement will require full backing of the military council. It’s spokesperson Ezem Bermendao Agouna said the military was open to discussions but added “the military will solve all the major challenges and organize a free and transparent election.”
The passing of Deby has been widely perceived as a blow to the fight against insurgencies in the region presenting a high risk of resurgence.
Chad worked closely with Nigeria and Cameroon in the fight against militant group Boko Haram and formed part of a joint taskforce fighting insurgents in the region.
Chad borders Libya, Darfur region of Sudan, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and the Central African Republic and there are fears Deby’s death threatens the stability of the region. FACT claims it is in control of the Tibesti region of Chad and preparing an attack on the capital N’djamena.