DON'T MISS : Talking Africa Podcast – Nigeria’s Obiageli Ezekwesili: ‘Get interested by politics, or be ruled by idiots.

Chad: Mapping the rebellion that killed Idriss Déby

In depth
This article is part of the dossier: Chad: The end of an era

By Marie Toulemonde
Posted on Thursday, 29 April 2021 15:06

Killed while directing an offensive against the armed group FACT, which had entered Chad through southern Libya, the late president Idriss Déby had always known that his power was coveted by and under threat from rebel movements, many of which established rear bases in Libya or Sudan. Here we break down the groups since his rise to power.

Much like his forerunners, Idriss Déby, who became president of Chad through a military coup in late 1990, had to contend with rebel groups early on in his rule. In 1995, the president’s former army chief of staff, Mahamat Garfa, took up arms against him with the help of his nephew, Mahamat Nour Abdelkerim.

Ultimately killed on 18 April in Kanem region, Déby had always known that his power was under threat from rebels, most of whom were welcomed or even supported by neighbouring countries, Libya and Sudan chief among them.

There have been a few close calls, like in May 2005 when Abdelkerim’s forces nearly captured the capital, N’Djamena. And in February 2008, Déby, at the ready to fight, decided to confront Mahamat Nouri’s troops in Massaguet, a city 80 kilometres north-east of N’Djamena. In the end, the rebels were forced to retreat, but his presidency had come close to being upended.

Re-elected six times, President Déby never went unchallenged. But the 2011 collapse of Muammar Gaddafi’s rule in Libya only added to the climate of instability. Since 2018, he had been grappling with a new wave of rebel movements coming from northern Chad. We break down the situation in two infographics below.

Also in this in Depth:

Chad: President Idriss Déby is killed in battle, after ruling for 30 years

According to a confirmation from the national army of Chad read on national television, the newly re-elected President Idriss Déby has died of wounds he received while commanding his army in battles against rebels in the north.

[Exclusive] Chad: The last hours of President Idriss Déby

The death of the Chadian president was announced on 20 April. We have reconstructed here the details of the Marshal's final battle.

Chad: The six lives of President Idriss Déby Itno

The death of the Chadian president was announced on Tuesday 20 April. Idriss Déby Itno had just been declared the winner of the election on 11 April, when he ran for a sixth term. From the desert expanses of the Ennedi, where he grew up, to those of the Libyan border, where he had forged an image of fearless warrior, he had weathered many storms. Until he met the rebel group known as FACT.

Chad: Six things to know about the rebel group FACT

The death of Chad’s President Idriss Déby Itno came as a surprise, given his resilience and cat-like ability to avoid near-death experiences in the past. But the group being blamed for his death is Front pour l’Alternance et la Concorde au Tchad (FACT). They are not a well-known rebel group, but they have been around. Here are some facts on FACT.

Chad: Who is Mahamat Idriss Déby, son of the late President Idriss Déby Itno?

As soon as the death of Chad's President Idriss Déby Itno’s was reported on 20 April, the Chadian army announced the formation of a transitional council, which will run the country for 18 months and be headed by Mahamat Idriss Déby, the son of Idriss.

Why Chad’s rebellion and Déby’s demise could tip the region into chaos

For once the funereal protestations of regional and international leaders at the violent death of a military leader are more than diplomatic posturing.  That much will be clear in some desperate consultations around the funeral of Marshall Idris Déby Itno in N’Djamena on Friday.

Chad: Albert Padacké lost the election to Idriss Déby. Now he is PM to Déby’s son Mahamat

Albert Pahimi Padacké, who both ran as a presidential candidate against the late Idriss Déby Itno and served as his prime minister, has just recently been appointed prime minister of President Mahamat Idriss Déby’s transitional government by the NTC.

Chad: Former President Déby’s successor will have to rely on IMF support

The Covid-19 pandemic and oil prices have weakened Chad’s economy, which has taken a major hit due to increased security spending. However, an IMF package worth $560m was promised to N'Djamena in January.

Nigeria: Chad blowback will hurt fight against Boko Haram

More than a week after the death of President Idris Déby Itno, the rebels who killed the Chadian strongman are not relenting their fight as they continue to engage troops in the northern Kanem region, around 330km from Nigeria’s border communities. Experts are concerned about the growing political instability in Chad disrupting the Sahel security apparatus, with Nigeria among the hardest hit. But the Nigerian army tells The Africa Report not to worry, because it will 'fill the gap' left by the death of Déby in the regional security calculus.