Chadian rebel returns for talks on country’s future

7. Chad
Chadian politician Tom Erdimi waves to supporters as he arrives in N’Djamena on September 16, 2022. (Photo: AFP)

N’DJAMENA — A leading Chadian rebel flew home on Friday to join talks on the country’s political future, after spending nearly two years in jail in Egypt, an AFP reporter saw.اضافة اعلان

Tom Erdimi, 67, arrived at N’Djamena airport aboard an EgyptAir flight and was greeted by his twin brother, Timan Erdimi, who leads the Union of Resistance Forces (UFR).

The brothers — nephews of Chad’s iron-fisted late president Idriss Deby Itno — were key figures in the regime in the 1990s before they rebelled against it, co-founding the UFR.

Erdimi was arrested in Egypt in December 2020, a move that the UFR said was the result of Chadian pressure on the Cairo government.

But on Wednesday, the Chadian government announced that he had been pardoned by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi and would be returning home.

There have been no other details about his release, which had been a condition set by the UFR for joining a forum on charting the military-run country’s return to civilian rule.

Erdimi, wearing a traditional white gown, was warmly received by relatives and sympathizers. Two ministers in the junta-appointed government were also present.

He called for “peace and reconciliation, in a democratic system”.

Tom Erdimi was director of former president Deby’s cabinet in 1991, and in charge of a range of oil-related activities in the central African state.

He and his brother rebelled against the late ruler in 2005, launching several offensives aimed at overthrowing the government, including one that earned them a death sentence in absentia while they were in exile overseas.

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