Déby died during fighting against rebel groups

Macron stars at funeral of Chadian President Idriss Déby

PHOTO/CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON via REUTERS - French President Emmanuel Macron speaks with Hinda Deby Itno, first lady of Chad and widow of the late president, during the state funeral for the late Chadian President Idriss Deby in N'Djamena, Chad 23 April 2021

The state funeral of President Idriss Déby was held this Friday in N'Djamena, the country's capital. The event was attended by several African leaders, including the presidents of Guinea, Mali, Mauritania and Nigeria. French President Emmanuel Macron was also present at Déby's funeral. "France will never allow anyone, today or tomorrow, to question the stability and integrity of Chad," he said at the funeral. Macron considered his Chadian counterpart "a courageous friend". France's presence is crucial in the area. According to Reuters, there are currently 5,100 French troops in the region as part of Operation Barkhane. The aim of these troops is to fight Islamist militias and rebels.

Josep Borrell, the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, also attended the funeral. "The stability of Chad is a key element for the whole region," Borrell said in the wake of the president's death. 

Atalayar_Chad Funeral Deby

President Déby died during an armed clash with a rebel group from Libya. The 68-year-old Chadian president had been in office since 1990. Déby had just been re-elected with more than 80 per cent of the vote, meaning that he was very popular with the people.

The government and parliament have been dissolved, while a military council has been created to govern for the next 18 months. At the helm will be General Mahmat Idris Déby Itno, one of the former president's sons, who has pledged to hold "free and democratic elections". Mahmat promised to "remain faithful to the memory" of his father. He has also assured that he will continue the late president's legacy of "dialogue, forgiveness, peace and unity". However, the political opposition considers this succession a "coup". Jean-Yves Le Drian, France's foreign minister, has backed the takeover. "The immediate priority in Chad is to guarantee the country's stability in the midst of exceptional circumstances," Le Drian said. Rebel groups also reject the handover, but have called for a ceasefire while the funeral takes place.

Atalayar_Chad Funeral Deby

The current situation in the Sahel is particularly critical due to the rise of jihadism. Countries such as Mali and Niger have recently suffered terrorist attacks. Déby was a key politician in the region, promoting security strategies and measures. Several experts consider the Chadian army to be one of the best and most equipped in West Africa. The African country is also playing an important role in the fight against the rise of extremism.

Déby's death is a blow to the stability of the country and the region. The rebel group responsible for his death has assured that they will maintain their offensive and that they are about 300 kilometres from N'Djamena. The US embassy has alerted its citizens about the current security situation in the African country.