By Mahamat Ramadane
N’DJAMENA (Reuters) – Chadian rebel group the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) has announced an end to a ceasefire it declared in 2021, accusing the interim authorities of bombing one of its bases in what it called an act of war.
Friday’s move suggests a possible return to all-out hostilities between the military-led government and FACT – fighting which led to the battlefield death of president Idriss Deby in 2021, after which his son Mahamat Idriss Deby seized power.
Since then as interim president Deby has sought to shore up a detente with Chad’s various rebel groups and has pardoned hundreds of FACT prisoners to encourage the group to participate fully in peace talks.
But in its statement, FACT accused the military of bombing its base in an attack on Wednesday that it said had killed three people.
“The military junta in power … has just declared war on us,” it said. “In view of this, FACT breaks the unilateral ceasefire it declared in April 2021, and reassures the junta that its reaction will be quick and unrestrained.”
The government did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
Any signs of escalation will be closely watched. Chad is a key power in central Africa and a longtime Western ally against Islamist militants across the Sahel region.
FACT fighters crossed the border from Libya in April 2021 to take a stand against the elder Deby, whose 30-year rule they opposed. They reached within 300 km (185 miles) of the capital N’Djamena before being pushed back by the army.
(Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Alison Williams)