By Spy Uganda Correspondent
Chad on Friday staged a state funeral for veteran ruler Idriss Deby Itno, a key figure in the fight against the Sahel’s jihadist insurgency, as France and regional allies voiced backing for his son and successor, Mahamat Idriss Deby.
The elder Deby, who had ruled the vast semi-desert state with an iron fist for 30 years, died from wounds sustained fighting rebels at the weekend, the army said Tuesday.
His death has stunned the Sahel and its ally and former colonial ruler France, battling a jihadist revolt that in nine years has swept across three countries.
The unrest has claimed thousands of lives and forced hundreds of thousands from their homes.
Deby’s coffin, draped in the national flag and surrounded by elite troops, was driven on the back of a pickup truck to the Place de la Nation square for ceremonies attended by foreign leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron.
“France will never let anyone, either today or tomorrow, challenge Chad’s stability and integrity,” Macron said at the ceremonies.
Meanwhile, due to deadly rebel attacks against Chad, reports have noted that Macron has since deployed heavy war jets to help President Idriss Deby’s son have smooth leadership.
These come after French fighter jets struck targets in northern Chad on Sunday in support of local troops trying to repel a convoy of unidentified fighters that had crossed the border from Libya.