Chad - Mahamat Deby in France

It is his first visit out of the continent since coming to power in April 20, 2021 following the tragic departure of his father.

The head of Chad's Military Junta, Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, is in Paris (France) for a "friendship and working visit". The announcement was made on Sunday, July 4, 2021 by the communication service of the Chadian presidency. Though not much details have been made public, internal and external security issues, the organization of national dialogue and elections are said to be prominent on the agenda. The 37-year-old four-star general has been leading a Transitional Military Council (TMC) of 15 generals since the death of his father, Idriss Déby Itno, who ruled the country with an iron fist for 30 years. France, the former colonial power in Chad, is the third country visited by the head of the military junta since he took power, after Niger and Nigeria.

A few hours after coming to power, the head of the TMC dissolved the Parliament, the government, abrogated the Constitution and promised "free and transparent" elections after a transition period of 18 months. The international community, led by the African Union (AU) and France, have demanded that this period should not exceed 18 months. Most experts consider the Chadian military the strongest in the G5 Sahel, the regional bloc transformed into a military alliance at Paris's behest in 2017, bringing together forces from Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania. President Emmanuel Macron was the only Western Head of State to attend Idriss Deby's funeral on April 23, where he vowed that France would continue to stand with Chad. "France will never let anyone, either today or tomorrow, challenge Chad's stability and integrity," he said at the ceremony.

Though President Macron announced recently a gradual French military disengagement from the Sahel with the French anti-jihadist force Barkhane of 5,100 men expected to step aside in favour of a tightened device, focused on the fight against terrorism and the accompaniment in combat of local armies, the French are keen on seeing a "peaceful, democratic, inclusive transition" in a country that is deeply divided on ethnic, political and social grounds.

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