Chad rebels unite to oust president
Libreville - Four rebel groups in Chad announced on Saturday they had formed a new coalition with the aim of overturning President Idriss Deby Itno "by any means".
"We say that we must take power by any means, in a peaceful way or by taking up arms if the path of peace is closed, as is currently the case," General Nouri Mahamat told AFP.
The former defence minister turned rebel chief is heading the new coalition.
"Our goal is to chase Deby from Ndjamena and to establish a period of pre-transition.... Currently there is no peace in Chad. It is Idriss Deby who has forced us to take up an armed fight," Mahamat said.
The coalition known as the National Alliance for Democratic Change (ANCD) issued a declaration signed by all four groups and sent to AFP in Libreville.
The alliance, created after seven months of discussions, is based in Moudeina, near Chad's frontier with Sudan, ANCD spokesperson Mahadi Ali Mahamat told AFP from Libreville.
The coalition said that when it took power it planned to preside over a period of transition of a fixed duration, before holding a presidential election.
The four rebel groups in the alliance are the Democratic Revolutionary Council (CDR), the Front for the Salvation of the Republic (FSR), the Union of Forces for Democracy and Development (UFDD), and the Democratic Movement for Chadian Redevelopment (UFDD).
Three of the groups had previously formed part of another rebel coalition, the Union of Resistance Forces (UFR).
A UFR spokesperson told AFP the UFR was not finished, saying the new alliance was formed by dissidents motivated by personal ambition.
Most Chadian rebel groups are based in the Darfur region of neighbouring Sudan. In January, the two states agreed to deploy a joint force on their border in a move aimed at ending the presence of rebels on each other's territories and halting their activities, as part of normalisation efforts.
In February last year, Chadian rebels swept across the whole of south Chad to the capital Ndjamena in a week and were only defeated with French help.
Deby, who seized power in a 1990 military coup but has since been democratically elected, has called for rebels to return to the country and join the political process.
"Power is no longer at the barrel of a gun, but in the ballots. Conditions exist in Chad for peaceful competition in free, democratic and transparent elections," Deby said earlier this year.
A Chadian parliamentary election is scheduled for November and a presidential poll is to take place in April 2011.