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Anxiety as Idriss Deby burial deadline imposed by Chadian rebels elapses

Friday April 23 2021
Chad's President Idriss Deby

In this file photo taken on January 13, 2020, Chad's President Idriss Deby arrives to attend a summit on the situation in the Sahel region in the southern French city of Pau. PHOTO | AFP

By NDI EUGENE NDI

A rebel group that the army accused of killing Chadian president, Idriss Deby Itno said it had given the late president’s family until Wednesday midnight to bury him.

President Deby, 68, who had been in power for three decades, died of injuries sustained in battle against rebels on the frontline, the military said.

Late president Deby’s son, 37-year-old army commander, Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, also known as "General Kaka", who was in charge of the presidential guards has been heading a Transitional Military Council with an 18-month mandate.

The Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) in a statement said “Chad is not a monarchy” and they do not recognise “the military junta that has taken over Chadian dictatorship.” It said all decisions by the “new military dictatorship are illegal and illegitimate.”

Chad’s Constitution, which provides that in the event of the death of a president, the president of the national assembly should provisionally lead the country for 45 to 90 days before a new election.

In the press release No 0012/B.E/2021, the rebel group that had announced a day before that it was advancing towards the Chadian capital, Ndjamena did not say how close it was to the capital but warned those who have been invited for the burial of the slain president not to dare.

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French president, Emmanuel Macron is among those expected at the state burial of the slain Chadian president on Friday. French government spokesperson, Gabriel Attal told journalists in a press conference Wednesday that president Macron paid homage to the Chadian president during the council of ministers meeting and will be in N'djamena for the funeral.

“FACT calls on Heads of States and governments invited by the military junta to the (burial) ceremony of April 23 to postpone the invitation for security reasons,” the rebel group said in Wednesday’s statement signed by its political coordinator in charge of communication.

The group said it was working with all living forces of the country for the putting in place of an organ for a real change.

“We call on all justice-loving Chadians to join us in this struggle to stop our dear republic from becoming a monarchy,” the statement said further.

There was no immediate reaction from the Transitional Military Council at the time of this report. 

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