French Troops to Stay in Chad: Macron Envoy

France will keep troops in junta-run Chad as it retreats elsewhere in Africa following crises with other military regimes, an envoy for French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday.

French influence in its former West African colonies has waned as military rulers battling jihadist rebellions in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger expelled its troops and strengthened ties with Russia.

Around 1,000 French troops are stationed in Chad, one of a dwindling number of French allies in the region and ruled by General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno since 2021.

“Of course we will stay” in Chad, said Jean-Marie Bockel, Macron’s envoy for Africa charged with discussing France’s new military footprint on the continent.

Macron has requested talks with Chadian authorities on “an evolution” of France’s military deployment to “better adapt it” to regional security and military challenges, Bockel added after meeting Deby Itno in N’Djamena.

Bockel also said he expressed to Deby Itno France’s “admiration” for Chad’s transition to civilian rule, a process that began after the junta chief took power following more than three decades of his father’s iron-fisted rule.

Deby Itno will run in a May 6 presidential election returning power to civilian rule that he looks all but certain to win, with major opposition figures exiled, coopted, or killed.

His main rival and cousin Yaya Dillo Djerou was killed last week in what his party called an “execution.” The government said Dillo violently resisted his arrest in a shoot-out with soldiers.

Deby Itno, 39, initially pledged to return power to civilians within 18 months but pushed back the date by another two years. He also previously said he would not contest the election.

Related Articles

Back to top button