Chadian army calls for appeasement and promises to return power in 18 months

2021-04-21 10:30:39 GMT2021-04-21 18:30:39(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

N'DJAMENA, April 21 (Xinhua) -- In Chad, the transitional military council (CMT), headed by the son of Chadian President Idriss Deby, who died Tuesday following injuries received at the frontline against the rebels, promised to cede power to civilians after an 18-month transition, while calling for unity and dialogue.


Tuesday morning, the spokesman for the Chadian army, General Azem Bermandoa Agouna, announced on national television the death of President Deby, who had been in power for 30 years.

"The President of the Republic, Head of State, Supreme Head of the Armed Forces, Idriss Deby Itno, has just had his last breath in defending territorial integrity on the battlefield. It is with deep bitterness that we announce to the Chadian people the death on Tuesday of Marshal of Chad," declared General Agouna.

In another statement, General Agouna specified that the ex-president was wounded while taking "the head of operations during the heroic fight waged against the terrorist hordes from Libya." He died when he was repatriated to N'Djamena, the capital.

It was the Front for l'Alternation and Concord in Chad (FACT), an armed rebellion based in neighboring Libya, which has made an incursion into Chad since April 11, the day of the presidential election in which Deby was declared the winner with 79.32 percent of the votes cast for a sixth term.

After informing the Chadians of the death of their president, General Agouna declared the dissolution of the National Assembly and the government, and the establishment of a transitional military council (CMT) for a period of 18 months.

The CMT is headed by a son of Deby, General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, 37, whom Chadians are already starting to call MIDI, like his father, Marshal Idriss Deby Itno.

The now acting head of state has headed for seven years the General Directorate of Security Service of State Institutions (DGSSIE), the elite corps of the Chadian armed forces.


With the establishment of the CMT, the National Assembly and the government are dissolved, and a transitional charter should replace the constitution, according to a statement by the CMT, which also ordered a curfew from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. throughout the national territory, and the closure of borders until further notice.

The mission of the CMT is to "ensure the defense of our dear country in this situation of war against terrorism and the forces of evil in order to ensure the continuity of the State," and "new republican institutions will be set up at the end of the transition by organization of elections," according to the same statement read by the spokesman of the army.

In the process, the members of the CMT appeared. General Mahamat chose the heads of the defense and security forces in place: 15 senior officers in total including himself, and most of them were with the ex-president in the fighting that cost him life.

Within the political class, voices are raised to denounce the unconstitutional seizure of power by the CMT and a too long transition.

"The defense and security forces have decided, in all lucidity and responsibility, to put themselves in the front line. By setting up a transitional military council, the defense and security forces are in no way seeking to monopolize of power," the vice-president of the CMT, General Djimadoum Tiraina, declared on television Tuesday evening.

"We would like to reassure that the members of the transitional military council will return power to a civilian government after free and democratic elections within 18 months," he said.


In the declaration of creation of the CMT read by the spokesperson of the army, General Mahamat launched "an appeal for dialogue and peace" to the Chadian people, who "must show their attachment to peace, stability, and national cohesion which are sacred values for the Marshal of Chad (the ex-president)."

Albert Pahimi Padacke, the opposition presidential candidate who came second with 10.32 percent of the votes cast, also called for unity, cohesion, and forgiveness, while offering his condolences following the death of the ex-president. He also asked political actors and civil society to "rise above selfishness and partisan interests for a sacred union in the interest of the country."

In a statement from the Elysee Palace, the office of the President, France, while taking note of the establishment of the CMT, also insists on a "peaceful transition" in a "spirit of dialogue" which should allow the return to "an inclusive governance based on on civil institutions."

Chad is a crucial ally of France in the Sahel region for the fight against terrorism.

"Chad lost a great soldier and a president who has worked tirelessly for the security of the country and the stability of the region for three decades. France lost a courageous friend," according to the statement.

For the rebel forces of the FACT, which "are heading at this very moment towards N'Djamena," "Chad is not a monarchy. There can be no dynastic devolution of power," according to a statement of the FACT released Tuesday.

The FACT left its base in southern Libya to make an incursion into north-western Chad since April 11. After crossing the mountainous province of Tibesti in the north, the rebels had heavy fighting with the Chadian army last Saturday in the western province of Kanem, some 300 kilometers north of the capital.

According the army, more than 300 rebels were killed during clashes in Kanem, while the FACT for its part said in a statement that it injured the president Deby last Saturday. Enditem