CrisisWatch is our global conflict tracker, a tool designed to help decision-makers prevent deadly violence by keeping them up-to-date with developments in over 70 conflicts and crises, identifying trends and alerting them to risks of escalation and opportunities to advance peace.
As intercommunal violence spiralled out of control in south, leaving dozens dead, N’Djamena launched military operation across border to chase rebels based in Central African Republic (CAR).
Intercommunal violence surged in south near border with CAR. Several deadly incidents of intercommunal conflict reported in Logone Oriental province. Notably, suspected herders early May killed at least 17 people in Don town, Nya Pendé department; and unidentified gunmen 17 and 19 May launched attacks in Andoum area, Monts de Lam department, killing between 35 and 40 civilians, burning houses and stealing livestock. In neighbouring Mandoul province, suspected herders 25 May raided Bara 2 village, Barh Sara department, killing at least nine farmers; attack reportedly took place after dispute with local farmer left one herder seriously injured. Authorities in April and May accused Chadian rebels based in CAR of fuelling violence in southern provinces (see Central African Republic).
Army launched operation against rebels based in CAR. N’Djamena late April announced inauguration, with support of French military, of military post near Goré town along border with CAR, with a view to better monitoring new security dynamics on frontier, including Chadian rebels’ activities in northern CAR. Despite growing mistrust over cross-border rebel activity, N’Djamena 11 May announced bilateral cooperation agreement between Logone Oriental province and CAR’s north-western Ouham-Pendé prefecture to combat Chadian rebels based in CAR, and 16 May said Chad and CAR 14 May launched joint military operation in Ouham-Pendé, killing dozen rebels and arresting 23.
In other important developments. Interim President Mahamat Déby 24 May pardoned 67 people sentenced to prison for participating in bloody 20 Oct 2022 protests, which called for return to civilian rule, along with 11 others who had been sentenced for alleged involvement in foiled Dec 2022 “coup”. UN refugee agency late May said 90,000 refugees had arrived in Chad from Sudan since conflict started in mid-April, called for international aid in delivering life-saving assistance.
Conflict in neighbouring Sudan sparked concern of regional destabilisation, and intercommunal violence resurged in southern regions.
Violent power struggle in Sudan raised risk of heightened instability in Chad. After fighting 15 April erupted in neighbouring Sudan between Sudanese army and paramilitary Rapid Support Forces, Chad same day closed shared border in attempt to reduce risk of movement of rebel groups and militias that might support either side. Defence ministry 19 April however announced 320 Sudanese soldiers had fled into Chad, while UN refugee agency around 21 April reported up to 20,000 people had found refuge in Chad since conflict started in Sudan. Influx raised concern about humanitarian crisis as World Food Programme 14 April announced it would from May onward not be able to feed hundreds of thousands of refugees already in Chad.
Intercommunal violence flared in country’s south. Suspected herders 8 April attacked Kagbé village (Mandoul region), leaving two people killed and six injured. Clashes between Fulani herders and Kodo farmers around 18 April left at least 22 people dead in several villages of Monts de Lam department (Logone Oriental region).
Govt entered diplomatic spat with Germany. Authorities 7 April expelled German ambassador to N’Djamena, citing latter’s “discourteous attitude” and actions “incompatible with diplomatic practice”; expulsion reportedly followed ambassador’s comments condemning authorities’ decision to allow interim president, Mahamat Déby, to run for permanent office in next election. In response, Germany 11 April expelled Chadian ambassador, and European Union next day condemned N’Djamena’s “hostile gesture”.
In other important developments. French media outlet RFI 15 April said committee in charge of organising constitutional referendum was expecting to hold vote on 19 Nov, though report cast doubt on timeline’s feasibility. Cabinet 24 April adopted electoral bill relating to organisation of referendum.
Interim President Déby pardoned hundreds of rebels and opposition protesters in first peace gesture in months, but inclusive transition to civilian rule remained elusive; deadly herder-farmer violence erupted, and new armed group claimed attack in north.
Hundreds of rebels, opposition protesters granted presidential pardon. N’Djamena’s court of appeal 21 March sentenced over 400 members of Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) rebel group, notably group leader Mahamat Mahdi Ali, to life imprisonment over death in April 2021 of Chad’s long-time leader Idriss Déby. Interim President Mahamat Déby around 25 March pardoned 380 of them, not including Mahamat Mahdi Ali and others who had been sentenced in absentia. Déby 27 March also pardoned 259 protesters jailed for alleged involvement in anti-govt demonstrations held 20 Oct 2022, which were brutally suppressed by security forces; several opposition supporters however remained behind bars.
International actors sought to revive dialogue between govt, rebels and opposition. Catholic organisation Sant’Egidio 6-8 March gathered representatives of 18 rebel groups that did not sign August 2022 Doha agreement with transitional authorities (including FACT) in Italian capital Rome; rebels stated willingness to engage in inclusive negotiations with transitional authorities under “neutral and impartial” mediation. Meanwhile, Economic Community of Central African States delegation 7-11 March visited Chad, met with opposition and civil society representatives, including Wakit Tama coalition, as part of its facilitation of transition.
Deadly intercommunal violence erupted in country’s centre. Moubi farmers and Arab herders 27 Feb-4 March clashed in and around Mangalmé locality, Guéra region, with at least 14 people dead. Fighting between herders and farmers from Boudouma, Boura and Mada communities 13 March left at least 12 people dead in Mamdi village, Lac region.
In other important developments. Previously unknown armed group claimed attack on army position in Wadi-Marou, Tibesti region, 26 March killed two soldiers. Constitutional drafting committee 9 March handed preliminary draft to transitional constitution PM Saleh Kebzabo. Several international media outlets from late Feb reported that U.S. warned Interim President Déby of Russian paramilitary Wagner Group’s plan to work with Chadian rebels to overthrow transitional govt.
Hundreds of rebels faced trial over President Idriss Déby’s death, and interim govt launched security-oriented diplomatic push.
Trial of rebels accused of killing Chad’s long-time strongman kicked off. First audience in closed trial of 454 Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) rebels, captured in April 2021 during clashes that led to death of then-President Idriss Déby, held 13 Feb in capital N’Djamena; trial adjourned 15 Feb after security guard reportedly accidentally detonated teargas grenade. FACT leader Mahamat Mahdi Ali mid-Feb questioned trial, citing Transitional President Mahamat Idriss Déby’s pledge in Oct 2022 to free all prisoners of war.
Security challenges persisted. Security forces from late Jan to mid-Feb conducted series of weapons search operations in Ouaddaï region (east) and capital N’Djamena, allegedly amid concerns over intercommunal tensions. Search at house of influential senior army official, Gen. Tahir Erda, 14 Feb sparked outrage among ruling Zaghawa clan. Chadian governors in their annual conference held 3-4 Feb confirmed creation in Jan of new rebel group in Logone Oriental region (south west). Communications Minister Aziz Mahamat-Saleh late Feb however denied existence of any rebellion on Chadian territory.
Transitional authorities sought security cooperation with partners. Déby 2 Feb inaugurated Chad’s first embassy in Israel amid reported plans to acquire Israeli military equipment to defend Chadian borders. Déby 6 Feb met with French President Macron in Paris to discuss bilateral cooperation; 9 Feb met with Central African counterpart, President Touadéra, in Angolan capital Luanda, to discuss security issues, notably increasing activity of armed groups on CAR side of shared border (see CAR). G5 Sahel (Chad, Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania) 20 Feb held summit in N’Djamena, first since Mali pulled out in June last year, reaffirmed joint commitment to fighting terrorism in Sahel.
In other important developments. U.S. daily The Wall Street Journal 23 Feb reported U.S. warned Chadian authorities that Russian Wagner Group was working with Chadian rebels to destabilise country and oust President Déby.
New rebel group emerged in country’s south, while interim govt signed peace deal with Miski self-defence committee and strengthened grip on transitional institutions.
New rebel group emerged in country’s south. In video published early Jan and widely circulated on social media, armed men announced creation of new rebel group Revolution Movement for Southern Chad allegedly comprising 12,000 combatants, including hundreds based across Chad’s southern border in Central African Republic; also appealed to Russia for support. Governor of Logone Oriental province, Gen. Ahmat Dari Bazine, 15 Jan confirmed existence of rebel group, said it “must be defeated”. Moscow next day denied supporting rebellion.
Govt signed peace agreement with prominent self-defence committee in north. Transitional govt 8 Jan signed peace deal with self-defence group which has long opposed state control of local mining sites in and around Miski locality (Tibesti province). Some committee members rejected agreement, whose terms were not made public, saying it could pave way for govt to loot Tibesti’s gold resources. Oil and energy minister 10 Jan froze all mining activities in province.
Interim govt strengthened grip on transitional institutions. Transitional govt 25 Jan named members of commission charged with organising constitutional referendum; parties from across political spectrum next day denounced body’s lack of representativeness, saying it risked facilitating “massive fraud”. Meanwhile, transitional govt 5 Jan confirmed security forces early Dec thwarted coup attempt and detained 11 army officers along with group’s alleged leader, human rights activist Baradine Berdeï Targuio; same day reportedly transferred all suspects to Koro-Toro high-security prison. Authorities also 5 Jan removed Transitional President Mahamat Déby’s brother, Saleh Déby, from police force after he accused Mahamat Déby of involvement in their father’s death in audio recording circulated on social media.
Court sentenced hundreds to years in prison for involvement in October anti-govt protests, and authorities detained dozen military officers amid rumours of coup plot.
Hundreds sentenced to prison for involvement in anti-govt protests. Public prosecutor 5 Dec said court had condemned 262 people arrested in relation with 20 October opposition protests to two-to-three-year prison sentences; mass trial held 29 Nov-2 Dec in Koro-Toro maximum security prison (Borkou province, north). Authorities early Dec released 139 other people who were given suspended prison terms or found not guilty during same trial. Chadian Bar Association went on strike during trial to denounce “parody of justice”, citing absence of legal representation for defendants, prisoners’ detention conditions (including allegations of torture) and other procedural irregularities. Meanwhile, international commission of inquiry into violent suppression of 20 October protests – led by Economic Community of Central African States – 14 Dec started visit to country to define working framework; civil society including Chadian Bar Association late Dec questioned commission’s independence, called for genuine participation of other international organisations including African Union and UN.
Military arrested dozen soldiers amid rumours of coup attempt. Military intelligence 9-11 Dec reportedly arrested dozen elements of elite anti-terrorist army unit trained and funded by U.S., and civilian human rights activist Baradine Berdey Targuio, sparking rumours of coup attempt. Army leadership 13 Dec denied coup plot, but said civilians used group of military officers to try to “destabilise the institutions of the Republic” and announced further investigations.
Jihadist and other violence persisted in west and north. In Lake province (west), Boko Haram militants 11-12 Dec killed seven civilians in attacks on Fougoh village and Fourkoulom camp for internally displaced persons. In Tibesti province (north), armed self-defence group, Tourkou surveillance Committee, 5 Dec reportedly fired at miners at Tourkou gold mine, killing two and injuring four.
Opposition called out military leadership on brutal repression of dissent, and jihadists launched deadly attack on govt forces in west.
Tensions continued to run high between govt and opposition. Following deadly crackdown on 20 Oct opposition protests and subsequent wave of arrests, leader of Les Transformateurs party, Succès Masra, 1 Nov left country, while leader of Wakit Tama civil society coalition, Max Loalngar, and other opposition figures late Oct-early Nov went into hiding. Transitional authorities 8 Nov accepted calls for international independent inquiry into deadly protests; however insisted that Chadian official oversee inquiry. Les Transformateurs and Wakit Tama around same day referred case to International Criminal Court, saying events surrounding protests likely qualify as crimes against humanity.
Implementation of national dialogue’s recommendations started. Following conclusion of national dialogue in Oct, PM Saleh Kebzabo 3 Nov presented new transition roadmap to Transitional National Council (CNT) legislative body, with constitutional referendum and new legal framework for elections as main priorities, and President Mahamat Déby 7 Nov appointed 104 additional CNT members including former opposition leaders and representatives of rebel groups that signed Doha peace deal in August. AU Peace and Security Council 11 Nov voted against sanctioning transitional authorities despite report of AU Chair Moussa Faki castigating military leadership for failing to honour 18-month transition timeframe.
Jihadist violence and intercommunal conflicts persisted in west. President Déby 14 Nov announced deployment of 600 military personnel in Lake province to fight enduring Boko Haram presence; jihadist group 22 Nov killed ten soldiers near Ngouboua village close to Nigeria’s border. In Chari-Baguirmi province, farmer-herder conflict 13 Nov left four wounded in Tchiltchlie village. In Logone-Occidental province, gendarmes in Krim Krim locality 22 Nov opened fire at protesters demanding release of farmer incarcerated after dispute with herders; eight civilians dead and 30 injured.
Authorities brutally repressed countrywide protests after national dialogue extended transition period to civilian rule by two years, leaving at least 60 dead, while herder-farmer conflict killed dozens.
National dialogue concluded, prolonging transition by 24 months. National dialogue’s plenary session 1 Oct adopted final resolutions extending transition by 24 months, maintaining Transitional Military Council leader Mahamat Déby as head of state and allowing him to run for president at next elections (despite earlier pledge not to). Déby 8 Oct issued revised transitional charter, 10 Oct took office as transitional president, and 14 Oct appointed members of “national unity” govt, including former rebel and opposition leaders.
Violent crackdown on opposition protests left dozens dead. Despite govt’s ban, civil society and opposition 20 Oct led demonstrations in capital N’Djamena and several other cities calling for return to civilian rule. Security forces violently cracked down on protesters; authorities reported 60 dead and over 300 wounded, while opposition parties said over 100 killed. PM Saleh Kebzabo same day blamed opposition for attempted “armed insurrection”, announced curfews in four cities and three-month suspension of seven opposition parties involved in protests. NGO International Federation for Human Rights around 23 Oct said hundreds of people detained since 20 Oct had been taken to unknown location in country’s north; NGO Human Rights Watch 26 Oct called for independent investigation of security forces over crackdown.
Deadly intercommunal conflict broke out in centre. Herder-farmer clashes 30 Sept-1 Oct left at least 76 and up to 90 people dead in Mangalmé and Kouka Margni sub-prefectures of Guéra region (centre).
Boko Haram attacks continued in west. In Lake region (west), suspected Boko Haram militants 2 Oct abducted six people in Kadoua village, eventually killing four of them; 7 Oct attacked regional governor’s convoy near Kinasserom Island, leaving three injured. Governor of Hadjer-Lamis region (also west) replaced 5 Oct after Boko Haram in Sept launched first attacks in region in five years, briefly seizing two villages in Karal sub-prefecture.
National dialogue moved to propose extension of transition as political repression increased; deadly herder-farmer violence continued in south.National dialogue continued amid tensions. Internal commission of national dialogue 28 Sept submitted proposal to extend transition to elections by two years, keep head of military junta as head of state and allow him to run for president at ballot box. Earlier in month, lack of inclusivity cast shadow on national dialogue’s work. Catholic Church 3 Sept suspended participation in national dialogue, citing lack of “mutual listening”. Group of elders and religious leaders negotiating with some boycotting forces (including opposition and civil society platform Wakit Tama) to pave way for their participation 14 Sept called for suspension of dialogue to consider several recommendations, including installation of new presidium and revision of participation quotas; authorities however took no heed of proposal. Meanwhile, FM Cherif Mahamat Zene 19 Sept resigned, citing interference and encroachment on his mandate from presidential office.Authorities clamped down on opposition. In apparent bid to prevent anti-dialogue rally scheduled for 3 Sept, security forces 1 Sept detained 84 members of Les Transformateurs opposition party over accusations of “disturbing public order” and holding “unauthorised demonstrations” in capital N’Djamena; next day surrounded party headquarters in city, confining four members inside, including party president, Succès Masra. Authorities 4 Sept lifted siege and released party members arrested since 1 Sept, who totalled 279 according to party. Police 9 Sept fired tear gas to disperse hundreds of protesters accompanying Masra to N’Djamena courthouse; 21 Sept cordoned off square in N’Djamena to contain Wakit Tama protest, reportedly detaining several demonstrators.Intercommunal conflict persisted in Moyen-Chari province in south. Herder-farmer clashes 13-14 Sept left 19 dead in several localities of Lac Iro department; security forces detained 18 people.
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.
Transitional govt announced national dialogue for August, prompting rebel groups to briefly back out of Qatar-mediated peacebuilding talks. Transitional Military Council (CMT) 14 July set 20 August start date for national dialogue meant to pave the way for elections. In response, 14 rebel groups, including Front pour l’Alternance et la Concorde au Tchad (FACT) and Union des forces de la Résistance (UFR), 16 July withdrew from Qatar-mediated peacebuilding talks with transitional govt, said lack of consultation on start date for national dialogue revealed attempt to “exclude” them and their political allies. Groups 22 July however accepted to resume talks after Qatari mediator previous day submitted new draft pre-national dialogue agreement. Media outlets 31 July cited negotiators saying agreement between Chad’s military govt and opposition rebels will be signed in Doha in early August. To prepare for national dialogue, CMT President Mahamat Idriss Déby 27 July consulted with some political parties, civil society organisations and religious leaders. Earlier in month, Déby 9 July reshuffled govt, removing Agriculture Minister Dene-Assoum Kamoungué, Economy Minister Mahamat Hamid Koua and his half-brother and head of transitional presidency’s civil cabinet, Abdelkérim Idriss Déby Itno, from office. Reshuffle likely linked to recent cases of corruption and looting of state’s financial resources. Meanwhile, reports emerged of kidnappings for ransom in southern localities. In Mont de Lam department, unidentified group around 6 July allegedly killed villager held in captivity since 20 May, despite his family paying ransom. Local resident 11 July told radio FM Liberté that his two children were recently kidnapped in same area and released after ransom payment. U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Ellen Thornburn 1 July urged CMT members to uphold commitment to abstain from running in next elections; former President Déby’s Patriotic Salvation Movement in following days denounced “American interference in Chadian affairs”.
Rebel groups accused govt of derailing pre-dialogue talks, high court gave one-year suspended sentence to opposition leaders and herder-farmer violence again flared in east. Rebel groups gathered in Qatar’s capital Doha to reach pre-national dialogue agreement 13 June rejected draft deal govt had proposed 6 June; Qatari mediator same day gave parties two weeks to re-examine draft and propose modifications. Armed groups 18 June accused govt delegation of “disrupting the negotiations through harassment and intimidation”, reaffirmed commitment to reach agreement but reserved right to suspend participation in negotiations. Qatar 29 June presented negotiators with new draft agreement, leaving them three days to amend it. Daoussa Déby Itno, former minister and Transitional Military Council (CMT) President Mahamat Déby Itno’s uncle, 7 June criticised Chad’s mismanagement, said country’s prospects were “very bad”. Catholic organisations at 11 June Chad Episcopal Conference also denounced country’s governance, called for change and emphasised Catholic Church would decide at appropriate time whether to participate in national dialogue. President Déby 23 June dismissed his private secretary, all-powerful General Idriss Youssouf Boy, who was same day arrested on accusations of embezzlement. High Court of N’Djamena 6 June condemned six opposition coalition Wakit Tama leaders arrested on vandalism charges, after mid-May protests in capital N’Djamena turned violent, to 12-month suspended sentence, a collective 10mn CFA francs in damages and 50,000 CFA francs fine each. Defendants two days later appealed decision. Chadian lawyer’s union next day suspended strike protesting leaders’ arrest and detention, called for their release. Transitional authorities 3 June declared food emergency and asked for international support, citing “constant degradation of nutritional situation” due to war in Ukraine. Meanwhile, security situation outside capital remained dire. Following late May clash between gold miners in far north that left over 100 dead, CMT President Déby 3-8 June led mass forced disarmament mission in region. Farmer-herder conflict 7 June erupted in Berem Ham locality (Mayo-Kebbi East region, south) after herder let cattle graze in farmer’s field, leaving 11 dead and at least three injured.
Authorities postponed national dialogue indefinitely, anti-French protests turned violent in capital N’djamena and farmer-herder conflict left several dead in Moyen-Chari region. Cherif Mahamat Zene 1 May postponed national dialogue initially set for 10 May to allow armed groups reunited in Qatar’s capital Doha to reach pre-dialogue agreement; transitional authorities 6 May presented draft agreement to rebel groups. Move to delay national dialogue raised fears Transitional Military Council (CMT) might try to extend 18-month transition roadmap: major trade union Union des Syndicats du Tchad (UST) 1 May accused govt of not respecting social pact and country’s Bishops 2 May declared CMT’s promises had not engendered any improvements. Opposition coalition Wakit Tama 6 May condemned transitional govt’s “failure” to organise dialogue, called for countrywide protest. Hundreds 14 May gathered in capital N’Djamena and other cities to protest against transitional authorities and French involvement in Chadian politics; protesters reportedly attacked twelve gas stations from French company Total and other monuments, burnt French flag and raised Russian flag on top of some buildings. Authorities same day arrested five Wakit Tama leaders on vandalism charges, 16 May apprehended lawyer and Wakit Tama spokesperson Max Loalngar; trial set for 6 June. Order of lawyers 17 May went on strike to protest opposition leaders’ arrest; rebel groups in Doha 21 May demanded govt free Wakit Tama leaders (currently on hunger strike), claiming it was transitional authorities’ responsibility to ensure security around protest. As authorities did not authorise it, Wakit Tama cancelled march planned for 28 May. Meanwhile, intercommunal tensions flared in several localities. In Danamadjé locality (Grande Sido department, Moyen-Chari region), herder 15 May killed farmer and police same day fired on crowd gathered to seek revenge, which left four killed and dozen injured. In Kouri Bougoudi (Tibesti region), dispute involving local gold panners 24 May degenerated into intercommunal clashes involving Libyan fighters; incident left hundreds killed.
Pre-dialogue with armed groups in Qatar continued, civil society coalition withdrew from national dialogue initiative, and land dispute killed one in south. Pre-dialogue between Transitional Military Council (CMT) and 52 Chadian politico-military movements continued in Qatari capital Doha despite mistrust toward transitional authorities. CMT and other groups 14 April exchanged draft protocols on final agreement, including proposals on ceasefire, release of prisoners of war, and disarmament, demobilisation, reinsertion program. Armed groups 14 April subsequently expressed discontent at CMT’s proposition. Major rebel group Military Command Council for the Salvation of the Republic (CCMSR) 5 April withdrew from talks, denouncing transitional authorities’ hidden agenda. Preparations for national dialogue planned on 10 May faced further hurdles as civil society coalition Wakit Tama 6 April suspended talks with CMT about conditions for dialogue participation, citing transitional authorities’ “duplicity” and announcing “major actions” in response. Following CMT mid-month confirmation dialogue would go forward despite pre-dialogue with armed groups’ slow pace, groups and opposition expressed doubts about CMT’s good-will and dialogue’s inclusivity. Amid growing scepticism about transitional authorities’ sincerity and rising fears they will cling to power, transitional President Mahamat Déby named his half-brother Abdelkérim Déby as presidential chief of staff after former Minister Abdoulaye Sabre Fadoul 5 April resigned from position citing “institutional and interpersonal” reasons. Former President Idriss Déby’s Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS) political party 18-20 April held event for anniversary of Déby’s death, criticised transitional authorities for not organising official commemoration. Judges 11 April suspended March’s strike order until 6 May to give govt chance to accede to their demands for more security for members of judiciary. Meanwhile, land dispute 7 April sparked clashes between Migami and Dadjo communities in Dokatchi village (Guéra prefecture, Guéra region), leaving one dead and 14 injured.
Pre-dialogue with armed groups got off to difficult start, President Mahamat Déby sought to reinforce links with Rwanda, and judges went on countrywide strike. Ahead of national inclusive dialogue planned in May, long-delayed pre-dialogue between Transitional Military Council (CMT) and armed groups 13 March kicked off in Qatari capital Doha. Rebel group Front pour l’Alternance et la Concorde au Tchad (FACT) representatives same day walked out, demanding Qatar mediate talks and accusing CMT of including large number of armed groups (52 in total) in negotiations to dilute groups’ demands. Qatar immediately suspended negotiations, demanding armed groups select a number of representatives for talks. Committee charged with preparing pre-dialogue and headed by former President Goukkouni Weddeye 9 March dismissed, sparking further suspicion among armed groups in run-up to talks. After groups 22 March split up into three factions, pre-dialogue following day resumed with Qatar mediating. Civil society group Casac, close to CMT, 6 March held demonstration in support of transition and French presence. In Mao city (Kanem region, west), incident toward policeman, which then put judge at risk, prompted strike across judiciary: after gendarmerie and military 10 March beat up and injured policeman, prompting victim’s family 14 March to assault judge in retaliation, judges across country 17-20 March went on strike, demanding increased security for judiciary; judges 22 March prolonged strike indefinitely. Military 27 March molested two other judges in Kelo city in south, sparking strong reactions from magistrate’s unions. Fulani pastoralists and Massa farmers 13 March clashed in Moulkou prefecture (Mako-Kebbi Est region, south west), leaving three dead. Meanwhile, Déby 18 March met Rwandan President Kagame in Rwanda’s capital Kigali, signed general cooperation agreement.
Pre-dialogue initiative with armed groups faced setback and delay, tensions with Central African Republic rose and intercommunal violence left dozen dead. Pre-dialogue with armed groups planned for 27 Feb in Qatar’s capital Doha delayed, possibly rescheduled to mid-March due to logistical issues. Pre-dialogue also faced major challenge after controversial phone conversation between Chadian rebel group Union des forces de la Résistance (UFR) leader Timan Erdimi and former Special Adviser for Central African Republic (CAR) Aboulkassim Algoni Tidjani Annour 15 Feb surfaced on social media; in call, leaders discussed plan to destabilise Chad, with Erdimi saying he wished to convince Russian paramilitary group Wagner to oust Transitional Military Council (TMC) leader Mahamat Idriss Déby and drive France out of Chad. Govt and parliament members immediately condemned plot, with govt stating refusal to host man planning “war” at dialogue talks with armed groups, while some MPs called for cancellation of amnesty law enacted in late Dec. UFR 18 Feb reaffirmed willingness to participate in dialogue and denounced attempt to exclude them. Déby 21 Feb reaffirmed that no armed group will be excluded from pre-dialogue. Tensions between CAR and Chad rose over leaked audio recording; CAR presidency 17 Feb denied involvement in plot and said Tidjani had been dismissed as presidential adviser in Feb 2021. Meanwhile, various stakeholders including Déby and civil society coalition Wakit Tama 9 Feb discussed conditions for dialogue participation; Groupe de Réflexion et d’Action pour l’Appel du 1er juin 2021 – group composed of former officials and longstanding opponents – also same day published document with recommendations on dialogue agenda and proposals on ways to identify participants. Meanwhile, intercommunal violence persisted. In east, tensions remained high despite non-aggression pact 2 Feb signed between Arab and Ouaddaïan communities following late-Jan incidents in Abéché city in Ouaddaï region. In south, farmer-herder tensions erupted: herder group 10 Feb launched reprisal attack which left 12 dead in Sandana area after they found dead body of community member. Demonstrations held during month in southern cities and in capital N’djamena against corruption, impunity and injustice.
Transitional authorities made progress ahead of May national dialogue; banditry and intercommunal tensions ran high in east. President of Transitional Military Council (CMT) Mahamat Idriss Déby lifted some obstacles to allow rebels’ participation in dialogue. Notably, authorities 18 Jan released 22 former armed group combatants detained at N’Djaména central prison; move followed two amnesty laws enacted 31 Dec covering over 300 rebels and political dissidents charged with “wrongful beliefs”, “terrorism” and/or “harming the integrity of the State”. Chadian delegation mid-Jan travelled to Qatar’s capital Doha to discuss Feb pre-dialogue with armed groups – initially planned late Jan in Qatar, later rescheduled to 27 Feb. Representatives of “politico-military” movements 21 Jan met in Italy’s capital Roma, at invitation of Sant’Egidio community, for dialogue consultation; representatives reiterated their will “to contribute to the solution of the Chadian crisis”. After Déby’s declaration late Dec that dialogue conclusions will be binding and draft constitution will be endorsed by referendum, five opposition parties and civil society groups 7 Jan welcomed announcement, but requested formal written commitment. Opposition party Les Transformateurs next day held major meeting in capital N’Djamena, while group of 14 opposition parties and high-ranking officials created new coalition, Convergences des Organisations Politiques. Meanwhile, banditry activities and intercommunal tensions increased in east, notably in Sila province, on border with Sudan’s Darfur. Unidentified gunmen 1 Jan attacked two people in Abdi town; four gunmen 11 Jan assaulted man prompting clashes with security forces, one assailant killed. In Hadjer Beyda village, local administration 12 Jan conducted mediation mission after land disputes escalated. Déby 14 Jan expressed concerns about Sudan’s situation as “it could have repercussions on us”. Also in east, in Abéché city in Ouaddaï region, security forces 24-25 Jan suppressed demonstration against 29 Jan inauguration of district head (chef de canton), reportedly leaving at least 11 dead and more than 80 injured; four ministers subsequently travelled to Abéché to appease tensions and territorial administration minister 26 Jan suspended contested local leader and Dar Ouaddaï sultan. In Lake Chad region (west), over a thousand 13 Jan fled Massakani village and sought shelter in new internally displaced persons site.
Preparations for national dialogue, now set for Feb 2022, made progress including opposition group declaring willingness to meet president and senior exiled figure returning to Chad. In preparation for national dialogue, authorities encouraged rebels and opponents to return to Chad; several key figures agreed to engage in process, including Chadian former diplomat and businessman in exile Abakar Manany, who flew back to capital N’Djamena 11 Dec. Authorities likely to meet main rebel groups in Jan in Qatar’s capital Doha for pre-dialogue ahead of national dialogue due to be held mid-Feb in N’Djamena. Transitional President Mahamat Déby 30 Dec promulgated amnesty laws covering over 300 opponents and rebels. Some Chad-based opposition continued to criticise transitional authorities and oppose current dialogue process: notably, political and civil society coalition opposed to military rule Wakit Tama 10 Dec demanded new transitional arrangements and next day held peaceful protest in N’Djamena; Chad’s Conference of Bishops same day issued statement strongly criticising military junta for retaining full powers during transition. Wakit Tama leadership 24 Dec however announced that they would meet with transitional President Mahamat Déby at his request to discuss transition and dialogue. Mahamat Déby 31 Dec announced series of measures including recruitment of 5,000 young Chadians into public sector, said national dialogue will start on 15 Feb. Meanwhile, apparent tit-for-tat violence continued in capital. Unidentified gunmen night of 2-3 Dec attacked house of General Mahamat Hamouda, commander of military zone in southern Chad, reportedly leaving one dead. Gunmen 8 Dec shot dead army officer Nousradine Khamis Hassaballah, reportedly following property dispute involving relatives of former President Idriss Déby’s wife Hinda Déby; associates of deceased next day attacked house of Ahmat Khazali Acyl, Hinda’s brother and current director of Chad’s National Social Security Fund; observers point to disputes within ruling elite. Authorities subsequently took series of measure to address insecurity, including prohibition of carrying firearms in N’Djamena, except for bodyguards of president and certain officials during working hours.
Tensions flared in north, while transitional authorities continued local consultations ahead of 2022 national dialogue. Late Oct arrest of traditional leader and army Col Hassan Kalibou Sougou, who had accused army of colluding with armed robbers, sparked unrest in Borkou region (north); inhabitants of Borkou’s capital Faya-Largeau late Oct-early Nov demonstrated to demand his immediate release and resignation of Governor Ismat Issakha Acheick; Sougou released 6 Nov but dismissed from army 8 Nov. Further protests in Faya-Largeau against clampdown on unregistered vehicles 17 Nov turned deadly: police reportedly killed one protester and injured at least another two; mayor of Faya-Largeau 20 Nov announced suspension of vehicle checks until 12 Dec. Transitional President Mahamat Déby 26 Nov removed Acheick and replaced him with former Defence Minister Saleh Algadam Aldjineidi. Committee for Inclusive National Dialogue (CODNI) throughout Nov continued local consultations ahead of national dialogue scheduled for early 2022. Some political parties and civil society expressed support for federalism, claimed their preference not reflected in reporting of consultations. Govt’s Special Technical Committee (CTS) reported progress in talks with rebel groups on conditions for latter’s participation in national dialogue, but obstacles remain, notably terms of disarmament. Govt 29 Nov announced general amnesty for rebels and opponents with view to facilitating national dialogue. Soldiers 3 Nov broke into church in capital N’Djamena and assaulted priest, sparking calls to preserve independence of religious bodies; National Commission for Human Rights next day condemned “violation of a place of worship and an inhuman act”. Govt 11 Nov said suspected assailants arrested and will be prosecuted. In Lake region (west), suspected Boko Haram insurgents 28 Nov attacked Bibi village, reportedly killing one soldier.
Opposition took to street against military rule, while transitional authorities moved ahead with preparation of national dialogue. In capital N’Djamena, security forces 2 Oct violently dispersed opposition coalition Wakit Tama’s march against continued military rule, leaving dozens injured according to Wakit Tama, an assessment contested by the authorities. Another march took place 9 Oct despite police ban: security forces again clamped down on protesters, injuring several and arresting dozens before releasing them same day; following march, authorities 10 Oct raided office of Les Transformateurs party in N’Djamena, arresting a Wakit Tama coalition member, and 11 Oct arresting three Wakit Tama leaders before releasing them next day. Special Committee on dialogue with armed groups, in charge of resolving disagreement between armed groups and authorities on preconditions for talks, 1 Oct held first session; committee officials 18 Oct travelled to France and Egypt to meet armed group representatives; several representatives 27 Oct expressed willingness to join dialogue but set preconditions, including amnesty. Also, committee in charge of organising national dialogue launched local consultations in many provinces throughout Oct.
Uncertainty around national dialogue persisted and transitional authorities formed interim parliament; Libyan forces attacked Chadian rebels and intercommunal violence killed dozens. Amid widespread doubts over Transitional Military Council (CMT) head Mahamat Idriss Déby’s readiness to genuinely engage in dialogue with some armed groups, Déby 3 Sept met with ex-rebels of Union of Resistance Forces (UFR) who indicated willingness to join dialogue; in response, UFR – led by Mahamat Déby’s cousins Timan and Tom Erdimi – said group will not participate in dialogue. Opposition Socialist Party without Borders’ President Yaya Dillo Djérou 5 Sept claimed CMT does not intend to organise sincere national dialogue. Mahamat Déby 24 Sept named 93 members of interim legislative body National Transitional Council, including former parliamentarians, politico-military leaders and civil society representatives. Civil society platform Wakit Tama, which has been at forefront of opposition to CMT since April, increasingly weakened as several core members, including Chadian Convention for the Defence of Human Rights (CTDHH), throughout month left coalition; CTDHH 11 Sept announced it will participate in upcoming national dialogue. Forces loyal to Libyan Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar 14 Sept launched air and ground operation against Libya-based Chadian rebel group Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) position in Tarbu area along Chadian border, reportedly leaving several dead (see Libya). FACT next day said Chadian, French and Sudanese forces involved; Chadian Defence Minister Daoud Yaya Brahim later denied accusation, claimed “no Chadian soldier intervened on Libyan soil”. Operation comes after Mahamat Déby late-Aug stressed need to reactivate 2018 quadripartite agreement between Chad, Sudan, Libya and Niger providing for establishment of mixed force to secure shared borders. Meanwhile, intercommunal violence 19 Sept left at least 27 dead in Kidji-Mina and Tiyo villages, Ouaddaï region (east). Suspected Boko Haram elements overnight 19-20 Sept attacked Kadjigoroum village in Lake region (west), killing nine. Govt 24 Sept announced plans to increase army size from current 35,000 to 60,000 troops by end of 2022 to cope with security challenges.
Disagreements over national dialogue persisted; intercommunal violence left dozens dead and Boko Haram attacked army positions. Transitional Military Council (CMT) showed signs of openness ahead of national dialogue scheduled for Nov-Dec. Notably, CMT head Mahamat Idriss Déby 10 Aug called on armed groups to join dialogue, with govt later clarifying “outstretched hand” to armed groups included Libya-based Chadian rebel group Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT); FACT 27 Aug said it was willing to take part in dialogue. PM Pahimi Padacké 13 Aug appointed 70 members of Organising Committee for National Dialogue (CODNI), including main opposition leader Saleh Kebzabo as deputy chairperson; Déby 17 Aug appointed 28 key figures of late President Déby’s regime, including 12 army generals, as members of technical committee on participation of politico-military leaders. Opposition and civil society continued to criticise national dialogue; opposition and civil society platform Wakit Tama mid-Aug refused to take up reserved seats in CODNI while coordinator of New Front for Change Yaya Dillo 17 Aug said political party will not participate in “sham dialogue”; opposition leader Felix Romadoumngar 19 Aug resigned from CODNI to lead wider opposition movement’s engagement in dialogue. Meanwhile, in central Hadjer Lamis province, farmer-herder clashes 7-8 Aug left at least 23 dead and at least 20 wounded in Kharadja village; UN humanitarian affairs agency 8 Aug revealed total of 24 incidents of intercommunal violence in Jan-July, with over 300 dead and 6,000 displaced. In Lake Chad province (west), Boko Haram attack 4 Aug left 26 soldiers killed in Tchoukoutalia area; in response, Mahamat Déby next day said soldiers’ death is “reminder of the security challenges” at border. N’Djamena 21 Aug announced recall of 600 out of 1,200 soldiers from G5 Sahel force operating in tri-border area between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger citing “strategic redeployment” to better respond to jihadist threat. Former President Hissène Habré 24 Aug died in Senegal, where he was serving life sentence for atrocity crimes committed during 1982-1990 rule.
Tensions ran high with African Union (AU) over appointment of High Representative for Chad; govt took steps toward organising national dialogue. Following June appointment of former Senegalese FM Ibrahima Fall as AU high representative to support Chadian transition, senior govt official in French media outlet RFI 1 July ruled out collaboration, said Chad was “not under AU tutelage”. High-level AU delegation 7-9 July visited capital N’Djamena, met with Transitional Military Council (CMT) head Mahamat Idriss Déby and FM Cherif Mahamat Zene in attempt to resolve dispute. AU 23 July appointed its head of Liaison Office in Chad, former Congolese FM Basile Ikouébé, as new high representative. Déby 5 July met French President Macron in first official visit to France; Macron reiterated support for transition. Meanwhile, presidential decree 2 July established Organising Committee of National Dialogue (CODNI) comprising 71 members including civil society and religious organisations’ representatives; opposition and civil society platform Wakit Tama 8 July said process not inclusive, while prominent opposition figure Yaya Dillo 16 July decried CODNI as biased in favour of ruling party. Newly authorised opposition party Les Transformateurs 4 July held public gathering in N’Djamena. After transition authorities 12 July authorised for first time march of Wakit Tama (which includes Les Transformateurs), hundreds 29 July protested in N’Djamena against CMT rule and French influence.
Amid calls for inclusive dialogue, interim authorities consolidated grip over transitional institutions. Group of former Chadian ministers and senior officials 5 June released joint appeal calling for national inclusive conference; citizen’s platform “Wakit Tama”, which has been at forefront of protest marches against Transitional Military Council (CMT), said it was open to constructive dialogue, but under certain conditions. While transitional authorities have not detailed planning concerning dialogue’s format or timeframe, they showed small signs of openness, notably 8 June granting opposition party Les Transformateurs authorisation to function as political party and 10 June releasing human rights activist Baradine Berdei who had been arrested in Jan for claiming on Facebook that late President Idriss Déby Itno was ill. In interview with weekly news magazine Jeune Afrique, CMT President Mahamat Déby 11-12 June confirmed commitment to hold elections within 18 months; Déby next day nominated 11-member committee responsible for appointing National Transition Council (CNT); CNT due to act as parliament for remainder of transition and draft new constitution. Wakit Tama immediately criticised nominations for lacking independence, and called for inclusive national dialogue within three months. Amid tensions between transitional authorities and some leaders of ruling Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS), extraordinary party congress held 12-13 June; National Assembly President Haroun Kabadi chosen as party’s new sec gen. Meanwhile, international actors mobilised efforts to support peaceful transition. Notably, heads of state and govt of Economic Community of Central African States 4 June adopted “Declaration of Brazzaville”, urging Chadian actors to favour reconciliation and dialogue, called on CMT to organise elections within 18 months. Following clashes with Central African Republic (CAR) forces late May, CAR and Chad 1 June agreed to set up “independent and impartial” commission to ascertain responsibilities with view to strengthening border security and avoiding further clashes. Farmer-herder violence involving Chadian herders erupted in Central African Republic, near Chadian border (see CAR).
As rebels went into retreat, interim authorities consolidated their rule amid repression of opposition protesters; border tensions with Bangui flared. Army early May said it had defeated Libya-based Chad rebel group Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) after violent clashes in Nokou area, Kanem province (centre); authorities 9 May announced victory and presented 156 FACT combatants to media, but armed group same day said they were unaware fighting had ended. Meanwhile, Transitional Military Council (CMT) 2 May named transitional govt headed by PM Pahimi Padacke, with 40 members including some opposition. Announcement sparked widespread discontent. Opposition and civil society platform Wakit Tama 8 May protested against military govt throughout country, defying ban on protests; police fired tear gas and arrested at least 15 in capital N’Djamena and 13 in Moundou city. New march 19 March poorly attended in N’Djamena and southern provinces, reportedly due to major police and military presence at various assembly points; authorities 19 May arrested and later released dozens across country, including Parti Réformiste leader Yacine Abderahmane Sakine, allegedly tortured while in custody. Students 20-21 May continued protests, notably attacking delegation led by Higher Education Minister Lydie Beassemnda at N’Djamena University. Meanwhile, international community remained divided over condemnation of CMT; AU Peace and Security Council 14 May called for civilian-led transition and transition not to be extended beyond eighteen months; called on authorities to hold inclusive national dialogue, and to urgently review national transitional charter to achieve better civil-military balance; AU however appeared to accept that CMT will stay in place for duration of transition. EU Parliament 20 May passed resolution condemning “military seizure of power” and called for “unhindered and speedy return to constitutional order”. In south east, intercommunal violence continued as farmer-herder clashes 17 May left three dead in Mouraye town, Salamat province. In South, N’djamena 30 May said Central African Republic (CAR) soldiers same day attacked Chadian military post at border, leaving six soldiers dead, accused Bangui of “war crime” and warned it would “not go unpunished”; CAR next day said “exchanges of fire” at border had left casualties on both sides, suggested joint investigation.
President Déby killed amid rebel advance toward capital N’Djamena; fighting could escalate in coming weeks. On presidential election day, Libya-based Chadian rebel group Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) 11 April attacked Zouarké border post, Tibesti region (north), in bid to advance toward N’Djamena and depose Déby. Armed forces 15 April launched airstrikes against rebels in Zouarké area, but FACT next day said it had seized garrison town of Gouri in north. Armed forces 17 April clashed with FACT in Mao area, Kanem region (centre), allegedly killing 300 rebels and detaining 150 more, and later claimed to have halted rebels’ advance. Military 20 April said Déby had died same day from wounds sustained during clashes with rebels near Mao town; Déby’s death came day after provisional election results projected his re-election with 79% of vote. Military immediately suspended constitution, formed Transitional Military Council (CMT) and named Déby’s son, Mahamat Idriss Déby, as CMT president. CMT 21 April published Transitional Charter providing that parliament and govt will remain in place until national transitional council and transitional govt are formed. Most international actors called for return to constitutional order, with AU 22 April urging military to “hand over political power to civilian authorities”, but French FM Jean-Yves le Drian same day recognised military council, citing “exceptional security reasons”. FACT 25 April said it was ready to observe ceasefire and discuss political settlement; CMT same day rejected talks. Renewed fighting reported in Kanem region 27-28 April, with FACT reportedly entering Nokou town 29 April; military 30 April said it had repelled attack. CMT 26 April appointed presidential runner-up in 11 April election, Albert Pahimi Padacké, as civilian interim PM. Protest in N’Djamena calling for return to civilian rule next day turned violent, leaving at least six killed and over 700 arrested. Meanwhile in Lake Chad region, suspected Boko Haram combatants 27 April attacked military camp in Litri locality; clashes reportedly killed at least ten soldiers, 64 jihadists and five civilians. Intercommunal violence continued to rage, notably in Salamat region where herder-farmer clashes 14-15 April left over 100 killed around Ambarit village.
Political tensions ran high as main opposition leader called for boycott of 11 April presidential election. Following late Feb raid on home of presidential candidate and former rebel leader Yaya Dillo, which reportedly left five dead including two soldiers, main opposition leader Saleh Kebzabo 1 March withdrew his presidential candidacy citing “climate of insecurity”. French FM Jean-Yves Le Drian 2 March and AU Commission Chair Moussa Faki 5 March asked authorities to launch independent investigation into deadly raid at Dillo’s home and hold those responsible for killings accountable. UN Sec-Gen Guterres 1 March called on govt to “favour political dialogue ahead of forthcoming elections and continue efforts to foster inclusive political process”. Supreme Court 3 March approved ten of 17 candidacies for presidential election, including Kebzabo and two other candidates who also decided to withdraw, and presidential campaign started 11 March. Some opposition parties, civil society, unions and youth groups next day launched “Wakit Tama” (Now Is The Time) platform against President Déby’s sixth term bid. Déby 16 March met Succès Masra, leader of opposition party Les Transformateurs, whose presidential candidacy was rejected by Supreme Court for failing to meet cut-off age requirement; Masra reportedly called for postponement of vote to allow time for “dialogue between all actors” prior to election; following meeting, Masra obtained long-awaited official recognition of his party – allowing it to run in next legislative and communal elections. Kebzabo 19 March called on supporters to boycott election and on all opposition candidates to withdraw. Hundreds of opposition and civil society members next day demonstrated against Déby’s sixth term bid in capital N’Djamena; police arrested at least 40; most released same day. After soldier 23 March shot and killed two teachers in N’Djamena while allegedly trying to intercept thieves, public prosecutor 26 March said soldier had been arrested and investigation was under way. Police 28 March dispersed demonstration in N’Djamena calling for justice and reparation for bereaved families. Farmer-herder clashes 18 March allegedly killed at least four in Babourou locality, Tandjilé region (south).
President Déby’s sixth term bid sparked unrest and raid on house of opposition presidential candidate Yaya Dillo turned deadly; intercommunal violence persisted. Ruling Patriotic Salvation Movement 6 Feb chose Déby as candidate for April presidential election. Hundreds of opposition and civil society members same day demonstrated against Déby’s sixth term bid in capital N’Djamena and across country’s south, defying ban on protests; police fired tear gas and arrested at least 14 in N’Djamena, while a dozen members of opposition party Les Transformateurs, including party leader Succès Masra, sought refuge at U.S. embassy. Masra 12 Feb left U.S. embassy after U.S. diplomats said they had received assurances from govt that he “would be allowed to return home unhindered”. Police 13, 20 and 27 Feb used tear gas to disperse opposition protests in N’Djamena and southern Chad and reportedly arrested scores of people. Security forces 28 Feb raided home of opposition presidential candidate Yaya Dillo – a former rebel leader and relative of Déby – in N’Djamena, leaving at least two killed and five wounded; Dillo said presidential guards attacked him and his family while govt said security forces came to arrest Dillo but faced armed resistance and had to retaliate; authorities immediately shut down internet in N’Djamena amid mounting tensions. Meanwhile, 15 opposition parties 2 Feb created coalition to field joint candidate in upcoming presidential election, and 9 Feb elected political newcomer Théophile Bongoro as candidate; opposition heavyweight Saleh Kebzabo’s and four other parties however withdrew from coalition few days later citing irregularities in election process. Intercommunal violence continued notably in south east, where farmer-herder clashes 15-16 Feb left 35 dead and several injured in Mouraye town, Salamat province. At G5 Sahel summit held in N’Djamena, Déby 15 Feb announced immediate deployment of 1,200 troops to tri-border area between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger; deployment decided in early 2020 was delayed due to insecurity in Lake Chad basin. French President Macron next day ruled out downsizing military forces in Sahel (see Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger entries).
Intercommunal violence continued in several regions, while govt faced accusations of interference in armed conflicts in neighbouring Sudan and Central African Republic (CAR). Farmers and herders 1 Jan clashed in Djokhana and Abourakha villages, Salamat region (south east), leaving 16 dead. Farmer-herder clashes 5 Jan killed at least three in Kim locality, Mayo-Kebbi Est region (south west). Brawl between ethnic Arabs and Kanembus over access to well 13 Jan left two dead in Dourbali department, Chari-Baguirmi region (centre). Insecurity in Lake region (west) fuelled population displacement. Following suspected jihadist attack in Bikerom village in Dec, over 1,300 people 4-10 Jan fled Lake Chad islands to seek refuge on mainland. In run-up to April presidential election, opposition and civil society criticised new round of COVID-19 restrictions announced late Dec. Notably, opposition party National Union for Democracy and Renewal led by Saleh Kebzabo 5 Jan said ruling party is preparing “electoral hold-up” under pretext of COVID-19. Amid outcry, Déby 13 Jan lifted most restrictions. Meanwhile, Chad faced accusations of supporting armed groups involved in fighting in neighbouring countries. In Sudan, West Darfur state’s governor 17 Jan said some groups involved in previous day’s attacks in El-Geneina city, which left at least 48 dead, came from Chad; Chadian govt next day denied accusations. Amid fighting in El-Geneina area, over 2,500 people 16-19 Jan sought refuge in eastern Chad’s Adré area. CAR govt 13 Jan presented on television Chadian national arrested during early Jan rebel offensive on outskirts of capital Bangui and implied Chad was complicit in attack. Chadian govt next day denied accusations, condemned recruitment of Chadian nationals by all parties to CAR conflict. After president of CAR National Assembly 25 Jan travelled to Chad, CAR authorities next day refuted alleged accusations toward N’Djamena.
Intercommunal violence flared up in several regions leaving dozens dead, while govt continued to repress opposition amid COVID-19 restrictions. Farmer-herder clashes 10 Dec killed at least 12 in Doulbarid locality, Ouaddai province (east). Land dispute between ethnic Bulala and Arab communities 12 Dec escalated into brawl in Achiguek village, Batha province (centre), leaving at least 25 dead. Herder-farmer clashes overnight 13-14 Dec also reportedly left nine dead in Béré town, Tandjilé province (south); angry mob next day ransacked préfet’s residence and vandalised police vehicles in Béré, leaving another two dead. Meanwhile, President Déby’s constitutional revision suffered setback. Parliament 3 Dec adopted constitutional reform bill providing that head of Senate – and not VP, personally appointed by president, as favoured by Déby – would take over as interim president in case of presidential vacancy or inability; Déby 14 Dec passed text into law. Court 11 Dec acquitted and released human rights activist Alain Kemba Didah and two co-defendants of “public order offenses” and “acts of rebellion” including breaching COVID-19-related restrictions; trio was arrested late Nov after organising opposition’s “citizens’ forum” in capital N’Djamena. Govt 11 Dec suspended opposition Parti Réformiste for three months after party chairman Yacine Abdramane Sakine 7 Dec said military was “held hostage by a small minority […] to keep Déby’s corrupt regime in power”. Members of opposition party Les Transformateurs 12 and 23 Dec gathered in N’Djamena to call for greater political freedom; police used tear gas to disperse them, citing COVID-19 regulations, leaving at least three injured. Amid small rise in COVID-19 cases, Déby 31 Dec banned all movement in and out of N’Djamena (including through airport) and all but essential movements within city for one week.
Violence continued around Lake Chad and political tensions increased as President Déby pressed ahead with constitutional revision ahead of 2021 presidential election. Small-scale jihadist attacks against civilians and military continued in Lake province in west. Boko Haram overnight 3-4 Nov attacked Barkalam village, killing two and abducting another; 11 Nov killed seven in Ngoundadiya village; explosive device overnight 24-25 Nov killed four soldiers and injured dozens between Ngouboua et Litri localities. Farmer-herder violence 23-24 Nov broke out in and around Bélé village, south-western Mayo-Kebbi Est province, reportedly leaving 22 dead and 34 injured; security forces 25 Nov reportedly arrested 66 including local officials on suspicion of involvement in violence. Following Oct uptick in tensions between army and local self-defence militia over gold mining in northern Tibesti province near Libya, several senior military officers including army chief of staff visited region in Nov; military vehicles and equipment arrived in area 27 Nov. Amid persistent concern that Chadian rebels are using neighbouring Libya and Sudan as launching pads for attacks into Chad, Déby 16 Nov met with leader of Chadian rebel group based in Sudan and active in Libya, Abdelwahid Aboud Mackaye, in capital N’Djamena; Aboud Mackaye during and after meeting called on rebels to give up armed combat. Meanwhile, most opposition and civil society groups boycotted National Inclusive Forum on constitutional reform held in N’Djamena 29 Oct-1 Nov. Govt 12 Nov adopted constitutional reform bill; newly created VP will be directly appointed by president, sparking renewed concern that Déby could promote close relatives. Opposition repeatedly said constitutional revision will increase centralisation of power and minimum age requirement purposefully keeps 37-year-old opposition figure Succès Masra out of 11 April 2021 presidential race. Police 5 Nov used tear gas to disperse Masra’s supporters in N’Djamena, reportedly injuring several. Govt 26 Nov banned opposition’s “citizens’ forum” planned for 27-29 Nov, citing COVID-19 concerns. Police 27 Nov arrested about 70 people, mostly journalists, in premises of radio FM Liberté in N’Djamena for allegedly attempting to organise forum.
Clearing of mining sites in north increased tensions and govt announced imminent deployment of troops to fight jihadist groups in Sahel. President Déby 8 Oct ordered immediate clearing of all illegal gold mining sites around Miski in northern Tibesti province; also confirmed plans to withdraw mining rights except for approved companies with experience in mining sector; moves follow Sept withdrawal of Miski self-defence militia from 2019 peace agreement in protest at govt’s proposed plans to change legal framework for gold mining to their detriment. Meanwhile, during G5 Sahel meeting in Mauritanian capital Nouakchott, FM Amine Abba Sidick 5 Oct announced imminent deployment of Chadian battalion to tri-border area between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger to support fight against jihadist groups; Déby, who committed to sending additional troops there in Jan, had delayed deployment, citing need to concentrate military efforts around Lake Chad. In Lake region in west, suspected Boko Haram insurgents 19 Oct ambushed army convoy on Ngouboua-Kaïga axis, leaving four dead and at least ten injured. National inclusive forum on constitutional reform held 29 Oct-1 Nov despite boycott by several opposition parties, which claimed forum would not genuinely address structural issues or army reform; authorities 30 Oct banned opposition gatherings and circled headquarters of several opposition parties in capital N’Djamena, citing need to prevent demonstrations due to COVID-19.
Insecurity persisted in Lake and Tibesti provinces, while courtroom incident raised tensions between govt and judiciary. In Lake province in west, army vehicle 5 Sept detonated explosive device near Kaiga Kindjira outpost, leaving three soldiers dead. Boko Haram (BH) 17 Sept attacked Koulfoua locality, and later same day reportedly ambushed soldiers deployed to site, killing at least ten. Army 24 Sept killed 20 BH insurgents and released 12 hostages in Barkalam and Bilabrim localities. In Tibesti province in north near Libyan border, unidentified gunmen 4 Sept opened fire on intelligence services vehicle in Kouri-Bougoudi area, killing three. Militia from Libyan Koufra town 7-8 Sept reportedly crossed 80km into Chad and ambushed civilians on their way back from Kouri-Bougoudi, reportedly killing one and kidnapping over 30; attackers later released 22 ethnic Tebu captives, but retained several hostages from other ethnic groups. Shortly after court conviction of army Colonel Abdoulaye Ahmat Haroun to five years in prison for murder, members of his family, reportedly “heavily armed”, 17 Sept sprung him from courtroom in capital N’Djamena; security forces later that day recaptured colonel and five suspected instigators of his escape. Incident raised tensions between govt and judiciary, with lawyers and magistrates going on strike late Sept to demand better security for justice professionals. Ahead of 2021 elections, President Déby 23 Sept established committee to revise 2018 constitution.
Jihadist threat in Lake Chad region and violence in neighbouring Sudan fuelled population displacement. International Organization for Migration reported about 20,000 people 8-20 Aug fled their villages in Lake Chad region in west amid fears of renewed Boko Haram (BH) attacks and as a result of floods, totalling 360,000 persons currently displaced in region. President Déby 8 Aug said BH will long remain threat in Lake Chad basin and acknowledged Multinational Joint Task Force – which includes troops from Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Benin, and Nigeria – is struggling to retain control of area, citing coordination challenges. UN High Commissioner for Refugees 11 Aug said late-July spate of violence in neighbouring Sudan’s Darfur province brought over 2,500 refugees to eastern Chad; Déby 20 Aug met Sudan’s Sovereign Council Chair Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan in Chadian city of Am-Djarass to discuss reinforcement of security cooperation along mutual border. Meanwhile, herder-farmer clashes 12 Aug left four dead and 24 wounded in Banga-Dormon village, Tandjilé region in south west. In alleged effort to improve relations with key ethnic communities ahead of 2021 general elections, Déby 7 Aug reintegrated former Defence Minister Mahamat Nour Abdelkerim into army, 10 Aug pardoned three imprisoned former rebel leaders. In ceremony 11 Aug, Déby was granted title of Marshal following National Assembly June decision to honour him for his leadership in recent operation against jihadist groups in Lake Chad basin; opposition and civil society immediately denounced move amid persistent jihadist threat, COVID-19 and economic challenges. Govt 17 Aug announced two-week extension of COVID-19-related curfew in N’Djamena and several other provinces.
Jihadist violence flared up in Lake Chad region and electoral commission published long-awaited election timeline amid tense political environment. In Lake Chad region in west, explosive device reportedly set by Boko Haram 8 July killed eight soldiers and injured 21 in Kalam village. Boko Haram 31 July killed at least ten civilians and kidnapped seven others in attack on Tenana village. Amid persistent insecurity along border with Libya, attorney general 24 July said ten individuals, including high-ranking members of army and security services, sentenced to prison for drug trafficking across Libyan border. In capital N’Djamena, angry mob 14 July attacked and seriously injured army officer after he reportedly killed civilian during scuffle same day; amid rising tensions throughout country in following days, authorities 22 July restricted access to internet and social media in N’Djamena and other cities. Election preparations continued to spark controversy among opposition and civil society. Electoral commission and National Framework for Political Dialogue (CNDP) early July published election calendar, scheduling presidential election for 11 April 2021 and postponing legislative elections set for 23 Dec 2020 to 24 Oct 2021. Opposition immediately rejected reversal of order between presidential and legislative elections and questioned electoral bodies’ independence. Electoral timeline also sparked division within opposition coalition G24; coalition members 6 July said they would no longer recognise Félix Romadoumngar as leader, citing his involvement in drafting timeline as head of CNDP. President Déby 14 July carried out govt reshuffle appointing 14 new ministers and six secretaries of state in alleged attempt to secure wider voter support ahead of 2021 elections. After First Lady Hinda Déby brought defamation charges against former minister and rebel leader Yaya Dillo in May, Economic and Monetary Community of Central Africa (CEMAC) 6 July dismissed Dillo from his post as CEMAC country representative, in effect depriving him of diplomatic immunity; Dillo in May accused Déby of nepotism after his spouse’s foundation signed contract with national COVID-19 task force.
Violence broke out in Tibesti province in north and parliamentary elections planned for Dec were postponed to April 2021 due to COVID-19. In Tibesti province near border with Libya, clashes between gold miners and suspected highway robbers killed ten in Suisra locality mid-month and 14 near Zouarké locality 19 June. President Déby 9 June dismissed army General Moursal after he criticised management of military in open letter 4 June. Despite govt’s commitment to increase military efforts against jihadist groups in Liptako-Gourma region in border area between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger at G5 Sahel summit in Pau city (France) in Jan, Déby 18 June at fourth follow-up meeting of Pau summit said that troops will only be deployed once control over Lake Chad region has been restored. MPs 26 June voted to promote Déby to rank of Marshal for his leadership in recent operation against jihadist groups in Lake Chad basin. Electoral commission 8 June delayed parliamentary elections scheduled for Dec until mid-April 2021, citing disruptions to election preparations amid COVID-19 pandemic. Déby 23 June gave electoral bodies one week to agree on detailed timetable for parliamentary, local and presidential elections.
Govt faced mounting criticism over alleged poor coordination of COVID-19 response, while Boko Haram (BH) threat persisted. After ruling party’s ally Rally for Democracy and Progress (RDP) 12 May joined opposition and civil society’s calls for better management of COVID-19 crisis, President Déby 15 May dissolved organisation in charge of govt response and created new structure under his personal leadership. National Assembly same day extended COVID-19 state of emergency by two months. Opposition figure Félix Romadoumngar 17 May called for postponement of legislative elections scheduled for Dec due to delays in election preparations caused by COVID-19. Amid mounting discontent over impunity for people close to Déby, coalition of human rights organisations 14 May called for arrest of Déby’s brother Saleh Déby Itno, accused of involvement in killing of herder in April near his home in Bardé, 30km south east of capital N’Djamena; National Human Rights Commission opened investigation and 26 May summoned Saleh Déby for hearing on case. Jihadist group BH 7 May published video reportedly showing execution of two soldiers taken prisoner in recent clashes with security forces in Lake Chad province in west. Explosive device 10 May killed three Chadian UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA) peacekeepers on patrol in Mali’s Kidal region.