The bishops of Chad are calling for peace and reconciliation after the president's demise

The bishops of Chad are calling for peace and reconciliation after the president's demise

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On April 24, 2021, the day after his funeral, children react to a wall poster of Chad's late President Idriss Deby on a street in Ndjamena.
(ISSOUF SANOGO / AFP via Getty Images)

The bishops of Chad in Central Africa called for an "inclusive national dialogue" following the death of President Idriss Déby, who was killed in clashes with rebels last week.

Déby's son, 37-year-old General Mahamat Déby Itno, has stepped into the leadership vacuum and set up a military council that will run the country for 18 months when new elections take place.

The African Union Peace and Security Council has expressed "grave concern" about the takeover and has called on the military to "swiftly" restore power to the civilian leaders.

The bishops share the “fears and hopes” of the people

In a press release released last week during the plenary session of the Bishops' Conference, the bishops say they "share the fears and hopes of the Chadian people who are currently writing a sensitive and crucial page in their history".

Archbishop Goetbé Edomndo Djitanger, Metropolitan of N & # 39; Djamena, wrote on behalf of the entire Bishops' Conference: “To our people, who are concerned about the present and the future, we address the message of the healing of the risen Christ: Peace be with you."

He prayed that "the hearts of Chadian women and men would receive this message of peace and not worry as Easter promises rebirth and victory." He warned, however, that the current situation in the country "challenges us all and demands from every Chadian a deep conversion, a real change of heart", which is a prerequisite for reconciliation and lasting peace.

A dialogue of reconciliation

The bishops hoped that a “dialogue of reconciliation” led by a “politically independent, credible and neutral body” would enable all Chadians to “lay the foundations for a new, consensual political order based on respect the common good and the promotion of social justice are based on individuals and concern for the individual. "

The bishops of Chad say national dialogue is a "necessity for lasting peace in the country". In order for such a dialogue to be successful, they insist that “all belligerents unilaterally” declare an unconditional ceasefire and start talks. and for the transition to a new civil government "to be conducted in strict compliance with the constitutional order".

The bishops oblige the “Church Family of God” in Chad to make their contribution to this “integrative national dialogue of reconciliation” and call on Catholics and believers of other religions to intensify the prayers of supplication and supplication so that God can take root in the The heart of every Chadian is the will for dialogue, reconciliation, brotherhood and peace. “In this way they claim," We can better withstand the demons of violence and build a new Chad. "

Mediation efforts

The country's leading military council has so far resisted the calls for peace. A spokesman for the military said on Sunday: "The time is neither for mediation nor for negotiating with outlaws."

The rebel group "Front for Change and Concord in Chad" – known by the French initials FACT – launched an attack from Libya on April 11 to end the 30-year rule of Idriss Déby. According to the Chad military leadership, Déby was killed while leading troops against the rebel incursion.

A FACT spokesman told Reuters that the rebel group was "ready to keep a ceasefire for a political settlement that respects the independence and sovereignty of Chad and does not support a coup".

The African Union and the United Nations are holding talks with the various parties to the conflict. Reuters has reported that support for a civilian president with a vice president or prime minister of the military is growing.

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