Chadian rebels who were fighting in the capital city of Ndjamena have accepted a cease-fire proposed by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, media reported Sunday.
Libya's official news agency Jana reported that Gaddafi contacted the chief of the biggest rebel force, former diplomat Mahamat Nouri. Nouri agreed to a cease-fire and to talks aimed at implementing a peace and reconciliation agreement.
The African Union Saturday appointed Gaddafi a mediator in the crisis in the oil-rich Central African nation.
However, rebel spokesman Mahamat Hassane Boulmaye said he had not heard of any cease-fire and did not believe Nouri would agree to an unconditional end to hostilities.
"The fighters would rebel," Boulmaye said in a phone call to The Associated Press. He added that he was speaking from the border with Sudan and had not spoken to Nouri since Saturday afternoon.
It is reported that earlier government troops were fighting back rebels amid reports that at least 400 were in the city and had broken into the presidential palace.
Heavy fighting was reported around the presidential palace, the defense ministry and the official radio station building.
The United Nations has decided to evacuate all its staff from Ndjamena due to fighting, according to William Spindler, a spokesman for the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
Chad, a French colony until 1960, has been convulsed by civil wars and invasions since independence. The recent discovery of oil has only increased the intensity of the struggle for power in the country.
(Xinhua News Agency February 3, 2008)