Why the Battlefield Death of Chad President Idriss Deby Has Big Global Implications

On April 19th, the government of Chad announced that longtime president Idriss Deby had died from wounds sustained while visiting troops at the front-lines. Chadian government forces were battling a rebellion which just weeks earlier threatened to overtake the capital city, N’djamena. Deby’s fatal decision to visit the battlefield was the shocking end his over 30 year rule of Chad.

The death of Deby has plunged Chad into a domestic crisis. It also has profound international and regional implications. Idriss Deby was a stalwart ally of France and the United States, who considered him a lynchpin of their regional counter-terrorism strategy. Under Deby’s direction Chad had deployed thousands of troops to a regional multi-national anti-terrorism military force known as the G5-Sahel.

On the line to discuss what the death of Chad president Idriss Deby means for regional and international security — and for the future of Chad — is Reed Brody, Counsel for Human Rights Watch. Reed Brody has deep experience in Chad, where he worked to secure justice for the victims of human rights abuses committed by former president Hissene Habre.

We kick off this conversation discussing the circumstances of Deby’s death before having a longer discussion about what the end of the Deby era means for Chad and the Sahel region.


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