France Supports Chad’s Military Government, As Rebels March On The Capital
On April 22nd, France backed the Chadian Army’s takeover of the country, after the battlefield death of President Idriss Deby.
Any other choice allegedly undermines its superficial fight against militants in the Sahel.
Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian justified the installation of a military council headed by Deby’s son on the grounds that stability and security were paramount at this time.
“There are exceptional circumstances,” Le Drian said.
Deby’s son Mahamat took control of the country and its armed forces on April 21st, dissolving the parliament and suspending the constitution.
According to the constitution, National Assembly Speaker Haroun Kabadi should have taken over.
The speaker himself said that he gave up his mandate to Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno.
“Logically, it should be Mr Kabadi…but he refused because of the exceptional security reasons that were needed to ensure the stability of this country,” Le Drian said.
President Emmanuel Macron repeatedly called he wants France to distance itself from attempting to call the shots on its former colonies and he has urged the older generation to hand over to Africa’s younger politicians.
This has backfired, since in Mali there was fait accompli, and then there were incumbent presidents in Ivory Coast and Guinea returning to power.
Deby, although criticised by human rights groups for his repressive rule over three decades, was a lynchpin in France’s security strategy in Africa.
About 5,100 French troops are based across the region as part of international operations to fight Islamist militants and France has its main base in N’Djamena.
France is largely unconcerned of the potential chaos that this could cause in Chad, since it is mostly interested in its 1,200 troops remaining on the border between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.
Meanwhile, the Libyan-based Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) said they are marching on the Chadian capital, willing to fight against the military takeover.
The FACT rebels, are mostly a group formed by dissident army officers, and they rejected the military’s plan and have vowed to resume hostilities.
Mahamat said the army wanted to return power to a civilian government and hold free and democratic elections in 18 months.
Still, opposition and the FACT rebels are strongly against this. Chaos in Chad seems to be just beginning.
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