Chad signs peace deal with northern rebels

Chad's government has signed its third peace deal in three years with northern rebels in an effort to end a seven-year-old conflict in the region. Both sides agreed to de-mine the region.


The peace agreements of 2002 and 2003 collapsed amid mutual accusations of violations by both sides.

Under the new deal signed Thursday, the government of President Idriss Deby and the Movement for Democracy and Justice in Chad agreed to stop fighting, integrate former rebels into the government and security forces and release prisoners of war. They also agreed to open all main roads and de-mine the region in three months.

Smaller rebel factions in the central African nation, however, did not sign the agreement.

Chad's northern rebellion broke out in 1998 and flares up sporadically despite the previous peace agreements.

The rebel group made international headlines earlier this year when it captured Amar Saifi, the second-most powerful man in an Algerian Islamist group which has pledged allegiance to al Qaida and is classed by the United States as a terrorist organization.

Saifi, of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, was later handed over to Algerian authorities.

Von: 19 August 2005, by, Associated Press

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