Chad’s Ruling Junta Asks Niger to Help Capture Rebel Leader

Chad’s ruling junta rejected a call by a group of rebels for talks and asked Niger to help catch their leader who it believed is within its neighbor’s borders.

The Libya-based rebel group known as the Front for Change and Concord in Chad has been fighting to overthrow the government since 2016. It , staged an incursion into northern Chad on April 11 and President Idriss Deby died of injuries sustained during a visit to the battlefront on April 20, according to the so-called transitional military council that subsequently assumed power.

“Some fleeing vehicles escaped from the combat zone toward the border with Niger,” General Azem Bermendao Agouna, the council’s spokesman, said in a statement read out on public broadcaster Tele Tchad late Sunday. “The defense and security forces, pursued them with the support of the air force” and the rebels were subsequently located across the border, more than 600 kilometers (375 miles) from Chad’s capital N’Djamena, he said.

While the rebels have said they were ready to accept a cease-fire and find a political solution to the crisis, Agouna said “now isn’t the time for talks or dialog with outlaws.” Mahamat Mahdi Ali, the rebel’s leader is being sought by Libya’s attorney general for war crimes, and Chad called on Niger and a joint regional force known as G5 Sahel to help apprehend him and his forces, he said.

The military council intends ruling the country for 18 months and on Monday it named Albert Pahimi Padacke as prime minister of the interim administration. Padacke, 54, served as Chad’s last prime minister before Deby abolished the role in 2018.

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