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Chad pardons 380 rebels jailed for ex-president’s death

Hundreds of jailed members of a rebel group in Chad have been pardoned by interim President Mahamat Idriss Deby.

The 380 members of the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) rebel group were among 400 handed life terms on March 21 in connection with the death of former President Idriss Deby Itno, the father of the current Chadian leader.

They were found guilty of acts of terrorism, undermining national security, endangering the life of the head of state, and recruitment of minors among other charges.

A decree signed by Deby released on Saturday said the FACT rebels will “benefit from presidential pardon,” but the group’s leader Mahamat Ali Mahadi, who was sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia, “is excluded from the clemency.”

Chad has issued an international arrest warrant for Mahadi.

The FACT rebels who will be released were captured in April 2021 during clashes with the military in northern Chad.

Deby’s father, who ruled the country for three decades, was killed in those clashes when he went to visit troops on the frontlines.

A military council led by Deby was formed after his death to govern the country for an 18-month transition period.

He was supposed to hand over power to an elected government last October, but that deadline was not met and he became the interim president that same month.

The military has extended the transition period by two years, with elections scheduled to be held in October 2024.

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