Chad pardons members of armed groups ahead of national dialogue

By Mahamat Ramadane

N'DJAMENA (Reuters) – Chad's ruling military council has granted a general amnesty to members of armed groups as one of its steps towards a proposed national dialogue, the government spokesman said on Monday.

The key rebel group concerned is the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), which claimed responsibility for the death of former president Idriss Deby on the battlefield in April, after which his son seized power.

“Due to the special circumstances our country has experienced since the brutal and tragic disappearance of the Marechal of Chad, the President of the Transitional Military Council had expressed his desire to build a Chad of peace, stability and security by involving all Chadians,” said Communications Minister Abderaman Koulamallah.

“It is in this logic that the call has been launched, by the head of state, to our brothers and sisters belonging to politico-military groups to return to join this noble work of constructing a new Chad.”

FACT has previously said it would be willing to take part in a national dialogue if the government launched peaceful initiatives. The junta had initially refused to negotiate with rebels before reversing course.

A date for the dialogue has not yet been set. It was announced by transitional president Mahamat Idriss Deby earlier this year as a precursor to holding elections.

(Reporting by Mahamat Ramadane; Writing by Nellie Peyton, editing by Ed Osmond)

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