Chad’s Interim President Pardons 380 Rebels Jailed For Death Of Former President
Chad’s interim president, Mahamat Idriss Deby, on Monday pardoned 380 rebels from The Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) group, who were sentenced to life in prison over the death of former President Idriss Deby, reported Africa News.
More than 400 rebels were handed life sentences last Tuesday in connection with the 2021 death of the country’s long-time ruler, Idriss Itno. The 68-year-old was shot while visiting troops on the frontline against FACT rebels who had moved south from northern Chad and were advancing towards the capital. The rebel group had begun an offensive earlier that year from bases in Libya.
Last Tuesday, Mahamat El-Hadj Abba Nana, prosecutor for the capital N’Djamena, said the rebels were found guilty of terrorism, undermining national security, endangering the life of the head of state, and the recruitment of children, among other charges.
Mahamat Mahdi Ali, the exiled leader of the rebel group who was tried and convicted in absentia, was not included in the presidential pardon.
Notably, Chad’s former President Deby died after winning the presidential election. The news of his death was announced just a day after he had been declared winner of a presidential election that gave him a sixth term in office.
He was immediately succeeded by his son, General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, who took the helm at the head of a 15-member military junta. He has held peace talks with various rebel groups since coming to power, but the FACT group didn’t take part in any of the talks saying Chad’s transitional military junta must make the first move, and make gestures of peace, including releasing prisoners.
He had vowed to hold elections in the country after 18 months, which would have been in October 2022, but he has now postponed the vote to 2024. This resulted in violent anti-government protests in which at least 60 people died and hundreds of others were arrested.