CHAD

Rebels pick new leader to head unified group

Chad rebel leader Timan Erdimi was chosen Friday as the chief of a new union of insurgent groups preparing fresh military action against President Idriss Deby's government, rebel sources told AFP.

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AFP - Chad rebel leader Timan Erdimi was chosen Friday as the chief of a new union of insurgent groups preparing fresh military action against President Idriss Deby's government, rebel sources told AFP.

Erdimi, the leader of the Rally for the Forces of Change (UFR), was picked "by consensus" to lead the insurgency, which includes eight rebel groups, in a race that included three candidates, the sources said.

His appointment would be made official and ratified Saturday during the election of the movement's executive bureau.

But Abderaman Koulamallah, a UFR facilitator, told AFP by telephone that "nothing has been done. We must wait until Saturday."

After five months of negotiations, the rebels signed a deal in Sudan on Monday, just over the Chadian border, creating the Union of Resistance Forces with the goal of "liberating the Chadian people" and making "military preparations."

A rebel offensive on the Chadian capital N'Djamena in February reached the gates of Deby's palace before being repulsed.

The offensive led by the main rebel group, General Mahamat Nouri's National Alliance, crumbled when the various rebel factions disagreed over who would take political power once Deby was overthrown.

 

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