N’DJAMENA (Reuters) – A Chadian rebel group on Tuesday threatened to stand up to the country’s military-led government, days after another rebel group announced an end to a 2021 ceasefire that prompted the interim president to move to the frontline.
Tensions have flared again on Chad’s northern border with Libya, where fighting between rebels and the army subsided after president Idriss Deby was killed on the battlefield in 2021.
His son Mahamat Idriss Deby seized power after his father’s death and sought to restore peace, pardoning hundreds of imprisoned rebels and encouraging groups to take part in peace talks.
More than 30 rebel and opposition factions signed a peace pact with Chad’s transitional authorities in Doha last year, although the most powerful insurgent group, the Libya-based Front for Change and Concord (FACT), refused to take part.
Deby suffered another setback on Saturday when FACT accused authorities of bombing one of its bases earlier that week and ended a ceasefire it declared in 2021.
Deby responded on Sunday saying the army attacked after FACT rebels crossed into Chadian territory.
Deby said in a televised address from the frontline that he would be there for a week to oversee operations and warned FACT he would personally lead a battle against them if they did not put down arms.
Another rebel group followed suit on Tuesday, vowing to use “all necessary means” to restore democracy in Chad.
“Our country has been taken hostage by a hoard of irresponsible (people),” the Popular Front for Recovery said in a statement calling on all “patriotic forces” to unite for a “national uprising”.
A flare-up of fighting in Chad could destabilise a longtime Western ally against Islamist militants waging an insurgency across the Sahel region.
Attempts to curb the jihadists have been derailed by a string of coups in West and Central Africa, including a military takeover in Niger last month.
(Reporting by Mahamat Ramadane; Writing by Sofia Christensen; editing by Grant McCool)