- After engaging the government forces in days of fierce fighting in the capital N'Djamena, Chadian rebels on Tuesday agreed to an immediate ceasefire.
The rebels blamed France, Chad's former colonial master, of being involved in enormous civilian casualties.
The rebel Spokesman, Abderaman Koulamallah, said they had agreed to ceasefire to alleviate the suffering of innocent Chadian citizens. He said it was also taken to honour peace initiatives of Libya and Burkina Faso.
Although France had repeatedly said it was only evacuating foreign nationals out of the country, the rebels said they were shocked that French soldiers were directly involved in the crisis that started at the weekend. They accused French soldiers of using warplanes to cause untold civilian casualties in Liberte high school and N'Djamena central market.
The rebels said the ceasefire should be followed by a "non-exclusive national dialogue" aimed at attaining peaceful resolution of the conflict. They are also pressing for the existence of a "truly democratic political regime" in N'Djamena as well as demand the release of political opponents arbitrarily arrested.
The heavy fight has forced thousands of civilians to flee the capital. Both sides claimed to gain the upper hand.
Despite sealing the Presidential palace, the rebels had reportedly retreated after a heavy
assault by government forces.
Chad accused Sudan of backing the rebels to avert the deployment of EU forces in the region. Sudanese authorities rubbished the allegations.
The conflict has come at a time when international diplomatic efforts are under way to settle the dust surrounding bloody political unrest in Kenya. It is against this background that the international community quickly responded to events in Chad, condemning "any attempt to seize power by force."
Both sides have been asked to solve the crisis through "dialogue, political compromise and
President Debby first ascended to power after launching a coup d'etat in 1990. He has since been in power, winning three elections.
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