Chad military council names transitional government

Military also announces the lifting of an overnight curfew introduced after President Idriss Deby’s shock death.

An overnight curfew was clamped on April 20, hours after the military announced that Deby had died [File: Christophe Petit Tesson/Pool via Reuters]

The military council that took power in Chad last month after the shock death of veteran leader Idriss Deby has named a transitional government, the army spokesman said.

Deby’s 37-year-old son Mahamat, who took the helm of the so-called “Transitional Military Council (CMT)”, named a government on Sunday comprising 40 ministers and deputy ministers and created a new national reconciliation ministry, military council spokesman Azem Bermandoa Agouna said in a televised statement.

The new ministry is to be headed by Acheick Ibn Oumar, a former rebel chief who became a diplomatic adviser to the presidency in 2019.

Longtime opposition politician Saleh Kebzabo was not named to the transition government, but he issued a statement saying he “recognised” it.

Two members of his party were given portfolios.

Another opposition figure, Mahamat Ahmat Alhabo, will be justice minister in the country of around 16 million.

Earlier on Sunday, the military announced the lifting of an overnight curfew introduced after Deby’s death.

An overnight curfew, barring people from leaving their homes between 6pm (17:00 GMT) and 5am (04:00 GMT), was introduced on April 20, hours after the military announced that Deby had died from wounds sustained in fighting with rebel forces. The start of the curfew was later pushed back to 8pm (19:00 GMT).

A decree signed by Agouna, said the curfew had been lifted on Sunday “after evaluating the steps initially taken by the transitional military council (CMT) across the country and the security situation”.

Chad has remained tense since Deby’s death, with the military saying that six people were killed last week during demonstrations in N’Djamena and the south against what the opposition has branded an “institutional coup d’etat”.

A local non-governmental organisation has put the death toll from the demonstrations at nine. More than 650 people were arrested during the protests, which had been banned by the authorities.

The military has said Deby died after suffering injuries in fighting with rebels from the Libya-based Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), which had launched an election day offensive on April 11.

The announcement of Deby’s death came only a day after he was proclaimed the winner of the presidential election, handing him a sixth term in office after 30 years of iron-fisted rule.

Deby’s allies moved quickly to consolidate power after his death, ignoring the constitution and creating a military council led by his son, 37-year-old army general Mahamat Idriss Deby.

The transitional council is meant to be in place for 18 months and lead to democratic elections – a claim opposition parties have dismissed, calling the arrangement a coup.

On Friday, Chad’s army said it had wiped out “several hundred” rebels across two days of fighting in the Nokou region, about 200km (125 miles) north of the capital, N’Djamena.

The military earlier said it had lost a helicopter during the fighting due to a “technical fault” but the rebels have said they shot it down.

The rebels have threatened to march on N’Djamena, where a team from the African Union arrived on Thursday to assess the situation and examine ways of a speedy return to democratic rule.

Source: AFP