Chad’s military junta to hold talks with armed groups

Postponed talks between Chad’s government and armed rebel groups will begin today in Doha. The talks, originally intended for January,

Chad’s military junta will hold talks with armed groups. Photo: Issouf Sanogo/AFP

Postponed talks between Chad’s government and armed rebel groups will begin today in Doha.

The talks, originally intended for January, are a precursor for a larger forum on the country’s future following a military takeover last year. Today’s discussions are designed to incorporate rebel groups into dialogues ahead of the conference, which was delayed from February until May.

Following the April 2021 death of longtime President Idriss Deby Itno while fighting rebels in Chad’s north, a military junta—the Transitional Military Council—lead by Itno’s son Mahamat dismissed the government, dissolved parliament and repealed the constitution. The Council promised free and transparent elections by late 2022. However, whether elections happen on schedule is dependent on the forum’s success, including the adoption of a new constitution.

Expect today’s talks to demonstrate the fractious state of Chad’s rebel groups. While some rebel groups have welcomed the talks, others stated they will only participate if the Council makes credible gestures of peace. While the Council has freed some rebels, its swift takeover following Itno’s death raises doubts about whether it will stick to the 18-month deadline. If May’s forum is unproductive or further delayed, expect the rebel groups to withdraw from the process.

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