Chad’s Junta Says It Only Seeks to Secure State Amid Armed Threats

Chad’s ruling junta says it only seeks to secure the state as fear grows that it will cling to power following the death of the central African nation’s longtime president.

“The war is not over and the threat of attacks by other armed groups from abroad remains,” Mahamat Idriss Deby, leader of the transitional military council and son of slain President Idriss Deby, said on state television Tele Tchad.

Idriss Deby, Chad’s authoritarian ruler for three decades, died on April 20 of wounds sustained on a battlefront as rebels advanced on the capital, N’Djamena, according to the army. A council of generals headed by his 37-year-old son said it will run the country for 18 months in violation of the constitution, which states that a successor should be elected within 90 days.

The council’s “only objective is to guarantee the continuity of the state, defend the nation and prevent it from falling into chaos, violence and anarchy,” the younger Deby said. “The goal is to organize democratic, free and transparent elections as soon as possible,” he said.

The new leader’s speech came amid protests Tuesday in N’Djamena. Thousands of people defied a government ban and took to the streets, calling for the military government to step down. Protesters, who also criticized France’s support for the new leadership, faced a violent crackdown from authorities.

French President Emmanuel Macron clarified his stance Tuesday, saying he opposed a “succession plan.” He also condemned the response to protests. Days earlier, Macron justified the military takeover, saying the junta has a role to play in ensuring stability and a democratic transition.

The council Monday named Albert Pahimi Padacke as prime minister of the interim administration, though it’s unclear how much authority he commands. Padacke, 54, served as Chad’s last prime minister before the older Deby abolished the role in 2018.

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