Chad's rebels unify in bid to overthrow Déby

from Mail and Guardian
Published on 19 Jan 2009 View Original
LIBREVILLE, GABON - Eight rebel groups in Chad have joined together to form a unified insurgency that is preparing fresh military action, one of its members told Agence France-Presse on Monday.

The leaders of the rebel groups signed a deal in Sudan, just over the Chadian border, to form the alliance called the Union of Resistance Forces, said one of its leaders, Ali Gueddei.

"Our objective remains the liberation of the Chadian people and to overthrow the dictatorship," Gueddei told AFP by telephone, adding that all the rebel chiefs participated in the signing at Hadjer Marfaine in Sudan.

A rebel offensive on the Chadian capital, Ndjamena, in February reached the gates of President Idriss Déby Itno's palace before being repulsed.

The offensive of the main rebel group, General Mahamat Nouri's National Alliance, crumbled when the various rebel factions disagreed over who would take political power once Déby was overthrown.

Nouri told AFP on Monday that the formation of a unified rebel force was a "big step" towards the rebellion's stated aim of overthrowing Déby.

"It's historic. It's the first time that so many movements have been gathered in the one structure," said Nouri, the leader of the Union of Forces for Democracy and Development (UFDD), one of the signatory movements.

"It's a big step. We agreed to create a new union. We are all capable of understanding each other to defend the general interests beyond the quarrels of people with egotistical interests."

The new movement has not yet named a leader.