French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian Thursday justified the military takeover in Chad, saying it was necessary for security reasons.
Chad’s president, Idriss Déby, was Tuesday killed in the battlefront from rebels’ shelling, a day after he won reelection for a six-term tenure.
Chad’s constitution says the speaker of the parliament should become interim president upon the death of an incumbent.
But despite objections from opposition, the country’s military installed the 37-year-old son of the country’s slain leader, Mahamat, as president. The military also dissolved the government, the constitution and the parliament.
After the dissolution, Reuters reported Speaker Haroun Kabadi saying he had agreed, “with full lucidity,” to a military transition “given the military, security and political context.”
Rebel forces, a Libyan-based group of dissident army officers with the name Front for Change and Concord in Chad, have meanwhile rejected the new government. They have threatened to press their offensive into N’Djamena, Chad’s capital.
They have nonetheless paused hostilities to allow the government time to bury Mr Déby.
Labour unions have also called on workers to down tools in protest against a military takeover, Reuters reported.
Chad is a key ally of France in its security strategy in Africa. French Foreign Minister Le Drian said he does not expect Chadian troops to pull out from operations elsewhere in the Sahel region.
“There are exceptional circumstances,” Mr Le Drian told France 2 television on why his government was comfortable with the military takeover. “Logically, it should be Mr Kabadi…but he refused because of the exceptional security reasons that were needed to ensure the stability of this country.”
— Info France 2 (@infofrance2) April 22, 2021
He added that the goal was for the military council to ensure it brokers stability in Chad before it then transits to civilian rule.
“It’s the moment for it to be done when the security of the country has really been established,” Mr Le Drian told local TV.
Mr Le Drian’s explanation may explain why most world leaders have shied away from condemning the military takeover in the oil-producing central African nation.
Mr Le Drian is expected to travel with President Emmanuel Macron on Friday for Mr Déby’s funeral and to hold talks with the military council, Reuters said.
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