On May 9th, Chad’s military declared victory over the rebel group Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) after weeks of fighting.
The fighting led to the death of long-time President Idriss Deby on the battlefield. His son assumed leadership, with support of a military junta.
Deby visited troops on the battlefield a day after claiming re-election victory and sustained injuries in an attack that led to his death, throwing Chad in a crisis.
“The triumphant return of the army to the barracks today heralds the end of operations and Chad’s victory,” the army’s Chief of the General Staff Abakar Abdelkerim Daoud told reporters.
“War came and we were able to bring the situation under control… The situation is back to normal,” Daoud added. “It’s all over, the national territory has been secured.”
Crowds in the capital N’Djamena cheered as soldiers returned from the front line in a column of tanks and armoured vehicles.
The northern rebels had launched an offensive near the border on election day on April 11th, demanding an end to Deby’s 30-year rule.
However, the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) rebel group said in a statement that it was not aware of an end to the fighting.
FACT “will comment when it has reliable and credible information,” said the rebel group’s spokesman Kingabe Ogouzeimi de Tapol.
The transitional military authorities have previously said that they had defeated the rebels only for clashes to continue.
On May 9th, at an army base in N’Djamena, dozens of captured rebels sat in the dirt, on display for the assembled press.
FACT fighters crossed the border from Libya in April to take a stand against Deby, whose 30-year rule they opposed. His subsequent death while visiting troops plunged the country into crisis.
On May 8th, security forces fired tear gas to disperse a protest against the ruling military council. The council, led by Deby’s son Mahamat Idriss Itno, seized power after Deby’s death, promising to oversee an 18-month transition to elections.
Opposition politicians and civil society have denounced the takeover as a coup and called for supporters to take to the streets. At least five people were killed during the protest on April 27th.
Opponents had planned a further protest on May 9th, but postponed it out of fear the authorities planned to suppress it violently, Mahamat Nour Ibedou, a prominent human rights activist, told Reuters.
The Chadian junta allowed the protest, but it didn’t take place due to the treats.
Former colonial ruler France, which has a military presence in Chad and was a long-term backer of Deby, initially signaled its strong support for the council but has since called for a civilian national unity government.
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