10th May, 2021
By Abankula with agency reports
Chad’s military has claimed victory in its weeks-long battle with rebels, threatening to march on the capital N’djamena.
An earlier battle with the group led to the death of President Idriss Deby.
In a show of conquest on Sunday, the military paraded 156 rebels captured on the battle front, including 17 vehicles seized.
Five of the vehicles were equipped with heavy weapons.
Among the prisoners of war were four commanders, said to have led the rebellion.
One of the commanders Mahadi Béchir, was captured between the towns of Rig Rig and Nokou, in the province of Kanem.
According to him, all the arsenal of war came from Libya.
Béchir, according to Al-Wihdainfo.com now wants peace and dialogue and a truly democratic country.
However, the rebel group Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) said it was not aware of an end to the fighting.
The group “will comment when it has reliable and credible information,” said FACT spokesman Kingabe Ogouzeimi de Tapol.
The transitional military authorities have previously said they have defeated the rebels only for clashes to continue.
The conflict and broader political instability are being closely watched. Chad is a key power in central Africa and a longtime Western ally against Islamist militants across the Sahel region.
Crowds in the capital N’Djamena cheered on Sunday as soldiers returned from the front line in a column of tanks and armoured vehicles.
“The triumphant return of the army to the barracks today heralds the end of operations and Chad’s victory,” the army’s Chief of the General Staff Abakar Abdelkerim Daoud told reporters.
FACT fighters in about 500 vehicles crossed the border from Libya in April to take a stand against Deby, whose 30-year rule they opposed.
His subsequent death while visiting troops led to the military take-over, with the opposition politicians mounting protests.
On Saturday, security forces fired tear gas to disperse a protest against the ruling military council.
The council, led by Deby’s son Mahamat Idriss Itno, seized power after Deby’s death, promising to oversee an 18-month transition to elections.
Opposition politicians and civil society have denounced the takeover as a coup and called for supporters to take to the streets.
At least five people were killed during a protest on April 27.