Five months after President Idriss Déby’s sudden death, Chadian authorities are preparing a highly anticipated national dialogue. The country faces significant challenges as it charts a course to civilian rule.
Transitional authorities signed peace deal with armed groups in Qatar, national dialogue kicked off to immediate delays, and intercommunal conflict flared in south. In Qatar’s capital Doha, Transitional Military Council (CMT) President Mahamat Idriss Déby 8 Aug signed peace deal with dozens of armed groups, whose representatives 13 Aug returned to Chad to participate in upcoming dialogue. Prominent rebel group Front pour l’Alternance et la Concorde au Tchad (FACT) and several others however rejected deal, saying it overlooked their main requests, including adequate representation in national dialogue and political prisoners’ release. Rebel group Military Command Council for the Salvation of the Republic, which did not sign Doha agreement, 27 Aug claimed killing ten soldiers in northern Tibesti region’s Wouri district, which govt dismissed as “fake news”. Political tensions ran high in lead-up to national dialogue. After PM Albert Pahimi Padacké 4 Aug signed executive order fixing participation quotas, so-called “Harmonisation Committee” gathering civil society groups and political parties taking part in dialogue 8 Aug denounced authorities’ “monopoly” over process, with 1,220 delegates out of 1,360 reportedly stemming from ruling party. Déby 17 Aug signed decree making dialogue conclusions binding and preventing modifications by CMT; decree however failed to declare CMT members ineligible for next elections. National dialogue kicked off 20 Aug, but negotiations delayed by a few days for “technical” reasons. Harmonisation Committee delegates withdrew following 28 Aug presentation of dialogue’s presidium, prompting dialogue president 31 Aug to create ad hoc committee charged with “reinforcing inclusivity”. Behind-the-scenes negotiations to pave way for participation of non-signatory armed groups and some civil society and opposition actors (who boycott process) reportedly ongoing late Aug. Meanwhile, Boko Haram attack in Dabantchali locality (Lac region) 2 Aug allegedly killed two soldiers; ten militants also killed. Herder-farmer conflict continued in south. Nomadic herders and local farmers 7 Aug clashed in Kabbia department (Mayo-Kebbi East region), reportedly leaving many dead. Herder-farmer clashes 9 Aug also killed 13 people in Djongol locality (Guéra region), and 19 Aug killed nine people near Mengalang village (Logone Oriental region). Cattle-related violence 3 Aug also reportedly killed 27 people along Chad-Sudan border in east.
Chad is an essential component of Western countries’ strategy in the Sahel and in the fight against terrorism.
[Chadian president Déby] has a pretty fractious inner circle, and he knows that any local conflict could quickly escalate into a national one.
[There are no] significant indications of other violent extremist activity [in Chad aside from Boko Haram], so in that respect, [the decision to include Chad in the U.S. ...
This week on Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood and Naz Modirzadeh talk to Crisis Group experts Richard Moncrieff and Claudia Gazzini about the death of Chadian President Idriss Déby and its consequences for Chad and the region.
The death of Chad’s President Idriss Déby has plunged the country into uncertainty, causing concern among many Chadians and in neighbouring states. Crisis Group looks at recent events and examines the main risks facing the country.
The Chadian army, while essential to counter-terrorism operations in the Sahel, is also a source of potential instability for the country. Chadian authorities, supported by their international partners, should build a more representative and professional army, and establish safeguards to discourage violence in the event of a succession crisis.
Despite Chad’s economic woes and its citizens’ frustration with elite impunity, its civil society organisations have struggled to mobilise into a coherent protest movement. But these groups might yet play a more important role if the country undergoes more dramatic and potentially destabilising changes.
Jihadist fighters killed around one hundred Chadian soldiers on Lake Chad in the country’s deadliest attack in recent history. While the army has launched a counter-offensive, it is vital to improve military cooperation in the region and to protect civilians.
Intercommunal violence, particularly between Arabs and non-Arabs, has ravaged eastern Chad throughout 2019 and could further threaten the country’s stability. The government should initiate a debate on managing pastoralism and support an inclusive conference on the east.
Risks of an escalation in Tibesti are high as friction is rising between the state, gold miners and the local ethnic Teda population. The government should lift what has become a blockade of the village of Miski, dial back its rhetoric and enter talks with the population.
An early February incursion by the Union of Resistance Forces (UFR) into Chad from Libya was halted by French air strikes, conducted in coordination with the Chadian army. This most severe security threat for several years highlights the weakness of the country and President Idriss Déby’s rule.