The military transitional government in Chad says it will not negotiate with the rebels blamed for killing President Idriss Deby over ten days ago.
The declaration by the ruling military council came on Monday, despite growing speculations that the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) rebels might press ahead with their threats to attack the capital, N’Djamena.
The Associated Press quoted a spokesman for the rebel group as saying it was now joining forces with other armed groups who oppose the late Mr. Deby’s son, Mahamat, succeeding his father.
In a televised statement, the military spokesman, General Azem Bermandoa Agouma, accused the rebels of seeking to collaborate with “several groups of jihadists and traffickers who served as mercenaries in Libya.”
“Faced with this situation that endangers Chad and the stability of the entire sub-region, this is not the time for mediation or negotiation with outlaws,” General Agouma said.
The military spokesman said some of the rebels had escaped in the direction of Chad’s border with Niger Republic and called for the authorities in Niamey to help capture them.
A spokesman for the FACT rebels, Kingabe Ogouzeimi de Tapol, reportedly said his armed group had not given up, though he declined to say where the forces were on Sunday, citing security reasons.
Mr. De Tapol confirmed that his group had indeed been joined by other rebel forces, adding that FACT had already begun the process of integrating them into its “different battalions”.
The Chadian rebels were based in southern Libya and are believed to have crossed back into Chad earlier this month on election-day.
Mr. Deby, the president of the central African country since 1990, easily won the April 11 vote based on official results announced on Monday last week, although several leading opposition politicians did not participate.
However, the military announced the following day, Tuesday, that Mr. Deby, aged sixty-nine, had been fatally wounded while visiting the front lines of the battle against the rebels. His son, Mahamat Kaka Idriss Deby, thirty-seven, was named head of a military council that plans an eighteen-month transition toward new elections.
Chad’s political opposition has condemned Mahamat Idriss Deby’s assumption to power. It has also called for protests this week to demand for a return to civilian rule.
But the former colonial power, France, has been measured in its response to the military’s actions. Critics have accused French President Emmanuel Macron of endorsing a Deby dynasty by attending the late president’s funeral last week.
Chad is home to a French military base where counterterrorism operations for the region are based. It also has supplied critical troops to the UN peacekeeping mission in northern Mali.