The Chadian army, which has been in conflict with the FACT rebellion for several weeks now, presented 156 prisoners of war and 17 seized vehicles, five of which were equipped with heavy weapons, to the army headquarters on Sunday, following the latest sweep operations in northern Chad. Four leaders are among the rebels who were taken prisoner by the Chadian army, including Mahadi Béchir.
Mahadi Béchir, the commander of special operations for the rebel movement Front pour l’alternance et la concorde au Tchad (FACT), who has been very active in the rebellion for the past four years, was captured between the localities of Rig Rig and Nokou, in the province of Kanem. He said they entered Chad on 11 April in 500 heavily armed vehicles, in an interview with Alwihda Info. According to him, all the weapons were recovered in Libya.
The FACT leader did not take part in the offensive. He now calls for peace and dialogue. On the other hand, Oumar Mahamat, another leader, introduced himself as the Director General of the Gendarmerie, the first deputy of FACT. Appointed ‘by decree’, according to his explanations, Adam claimed to have been arrested at the Chad-Niger border. He said that the objective of the offensive was to completely overthrow the regime of Marshal Idriss Deby Itno and install himself in power.
Asked if he regrets his actions, Oumar Mahamat answered in the affirmative, if not almost. « Yes but… No, things like that, one day you are brothers, one day enemies, » he said. However, the army staff provided a rest area for the POWs and served them water and food.
Among the rebels taken prisoner by the Chadian army were minors aged 15 to 16. Some of them were enlisted when they went to northern Chad for gold panning, according to their testimonies. However, the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces (CEMGA), Lieutenant General Abakar Abdelkerim Daoud, called on Chadians to remain calm, reassuring them that all was well.