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Chad: Army says operation against rebels is "over"

156 FACT rebels captured by Chadian army   -  
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DJIMET WICHE/AFP or licensors


The Chadian army said on Sunday that the operation against rebels who have been on the offensive for a month is "over" and that "the situation has returned to normal".

The fighting began on 11 April, the day of the presidential election in which Idriss Déby Itno was re-elected for the sixth consecutive time. It was during fighting between the army and the Front pour l'alternance et la concorde au Tchad (FACT) that Marshal Déby was killed.

"The war came and we were able to control the situation (...). We cleaned up the place and there is nothing left now. The situation is back to normal," said the army chief of staff, Abakar Abdelkérim Daoud. "Everything is over, the national territory is secure.

Several hundred vehicles and armoured vehicles of the Chadian army returned to the Chadian capital N'Djamena on Sunday to celebrate the end of operations in the west of the country, an AFP journalist noted. The Chadian army presented 156 FACT prisoners to the press, as well as many seized vehicles.

"I ask the authorities to respect their rights as prisoners of war (and to) those who are still in rebellion outside the country to join the legal system so that together they can contribute to building a country of law and democracy," said Béchir Mahadi, head of military operations for FACT, with long, shaggy hair.

Since the beginning of the offensive, the army has claimed to have killed "several hundred" FACT rebels. On Thursday, the new Minister of Defence said that the rebellion was in "disarray".

Based since its creation in 2016 in southern Libya, FACT and its columns of pick-ups first descended from April 11, southward across the Libya-Chad border, then passed through Niger, before returning to Chad in the Kanem. 

After the announcement of the death of President Déby, his son Mahamat Idriss Déby took over the reins of the country at the head of a Transitional Military Council (TMC). Surrounded by 14 generals, all loyal to his father, he holds almost all the power. The country's new strongman has promised "free and democratic" elections within 18 months, a period he can extend once.

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