Brussels 23.04.2021 The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell has arrived to N’Djamena, the Republic of Chad, to attend the funeral of late President Idriss Deby. In a statement issued by the European External Action Service, Borrell expressed his views on the situation in this Sahel country, namely “…the need to guarantee the stability of Chad, and at the same time to return to constitutional normality as soon as possible. These two goals: stability, to ensure that the transition is going to take place in an orderly fashion and that this transition lasts as little as possible and that this leads again to constitutional normality”.
The diplomat has also underlined that the role of the neighbour Niger’s is fundamental. In general, all the Sahelian countries are committed, “all together and the European Union, also to help this transition, by guaranteeing stability and the return to normality, I repeat, constitutional” he added.
The EU, France and the G5 Sahel countries, which together are fighting the jihadists in this region, expressed their “common support for the civil-military transition process” to the son of the late Chadian president Idriss Déby Itno killed by rebels.
According to official sources, Chadian President Idriss Déby Itno died on Tuesday April 20 at around 1 a.m., following fighting between the Chadian army and the rebellion of the Front for Alternation and Concord in Chad (FACT), not far from Mao in the Kanem region, in the center of the country. In power for 30 years, Déby had just been re-elected for a sixth consecutive term. His death was announced at 11 am on national television by army spokesman General Azem Bermandoa.
Some observers doubt this version of events and offer other, unconfirmed hypotheses about the circumstances of his death, including that of a negotiation meeting with FACT members that allegedly turned into a shooting.
It is no surprise that President Déby himself went to the battlefield. Coming to power in 1990, following a coup d’état against President Hissène Habré, whose army he had commanded, Déby has always made his military status his main political force. His armed forces had succeeded in repelling rebel assaults in 2006 and 2008, and most recently in 2019, thanks to the support of the French military, and he was not hesitant to go into combat himself.
In April 2020, he took the lead in a counter-offensive against a faction of Boko Haram, which had just killed nearly 100 Chadian soldiers on the shores of Lake Chad. Its commitment on the ground enabled it to mobilize and galvanize its troops and, at the same time, to stand as a guarantor of the integrity of the national territory. His death is therefore causing concern among many Chadians and plunging the country into uncertainty.