Killing of Chadian President Déby likely to threaten domestic and regional stability

President Idriss Déby Itno was wounded by Front pour l'Alternance et la Concorde au Tchad (FACT) militants during clashes in Chad’s Kanem province on 19 April 2021. In an address on state television channel Télé Tchad, army spokesperson General Azem Bermandoa Agouna announced that the President had been evacuated by his son, Mahamat Idriss Déby, to the capital N’Djamena on the day of the clashes, but succumbed to his injuries one day later. Following Déby’s death, the army announced that his son would lead an 18-month transitional military government. However, this was rejected by the opposition, most of which had also abstained from voting in the April election, demonstrating ongoing political schisms in the country.


FACT is a Libya-based militant group founded in 2016 as a dissident branch of the Union des forces pour la Démocratie et le Développement (UFDD) with the aim of enforcing political change in Chad. It is led by Mahamat Madhi Ali, who stated in a 2016 interview with Jeune Afrique that his main goal was to remove President Déby from power through force. Ali claimed that the group comprised 700 militants, all of Chadian nationality, and that the group’s main base was located in Chad’s Tanoua region, with a training centre of 350 men located in Djebel Saoudah in southern Libya.

FACT incursion

President Déby had gone to the frontline to support the military after FACT militants, based across the northern frontier in Libya’s Fezzan region, had advanced hundreds of miles south towards Chad’s capital, launching an incursion on the day of the presidential election. On 11 April, FACT claimed that it had taken control of garrisons, including Wour and Zouarke, “without resistance” from Chadian security forces in the northwestern Tibesti region. This prompted the army to announce that it had “decimated” the militants that had entered the country on 11 April. In a statement published on the militant group’s Facebook page on 18 April, FACT condemned “the electoral charade that took place in Chad amidst an entirely toxic political climate that was far from conducive to the organisation of a democratic, free and transparent election”, and demanded “the immediate cessation of this ongoing electoral robbery in order to put in place a political transition inclusive of all the political forces, civil society and the Diaspora”. In a separate statement that day, the group’s military wing announced that it had “liberated” Kanem province.

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President Idriss Déby Itno was wounded by Front pour l'Alternance et la Concorde au Tchad (FACT) mil...

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