Who are Chad’s FACT rebels and what are their goals?

Fighters of the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) rebel group crossed from Libya over into northern Chad on April 11, the day veteran Chadian President Idriss Deby sought a sixth term in a vote boycotted by main opposition parties.

The rebels attacked a border post before advancing south, travelling in heavily armed pick-up trucks. After intense fighting, the Chadian armed forces over the weekend appeared to have slowed the FACT’s progress some 300km (185 miles) from the capital, Ndjamena.

But in a stunning announcement on Tuesday, a day after provisional results showed that Deby had been re-elected with nearly 80 percent, the military announced that the 68-year-old president, who often joined troops on the front line, had succumbed to wounds suffered during a battle against the rebels.

Deby’s 37-year-old-son, four-star General Mahamat Idriss Deby, was swiftly named transitional leader at the helm of a military council, despite constitutional protocol saying that the speaker of the parliament should have taken power. The military also suspended the constitution and dissolved the government and parliament, but pledged to hold “free and democratic” elections after 18 months.

“Chad is not a monarchy,” FACT said in a statement posted online after the announcement of Deby’s death. “There can be no dynastic devolution of power in our country,” the rebels added as they threatened to depose the new leader.

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