Mahamat Déby

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Mahamat Déby
محمد ديبي
Déby in 2022
Transitional President of Chad
Assumed office
10 October 2022[1][2]
Prime MinisterSaleh Kebzabo
Vice PresidentDjimadoum Tiraina
Preceded byIdriss Déby
President of the Transitional Military Council
In office
20 April 2021 – 10 October 2022
Prime MinisterAlbert Pahimi Padacké
Vice PresidentDjimadoum Tiraina
Personal details
Born (1984-04-04) 4 April 1984 (age 39)[3]
N'Djamena, Chad[4]
Spouse(s)Three wives, including Dahabaya Oumar Souni
Military service
Allegiance Chad
Branch/service Chadian Ground Forces
Rank General
UnitThird Armoured Brigade
Fifth Air Brigade
Free Arab Volountiers
Battles/warsChadian Civil War

Mali War

Insurgency in Northern Chad

Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno (Arabic: محمد إدريس ديبي إتنو; born 4 April 1984), also known as Mahamat Kaka,[5] is a Chadian four-star general[6] serving as the transitional president of Chad. He gained power as the president of the Transitional Military Council on 20 April 2021 when his father, the late Chadian President Idriss Déby, died in action while commanding troops in the Northern Chad offensive. He previously served as the second in-command of the military for the Chadian Intervention in Northern Mali (FATIM).

Early and personal life[edit]

Mahamat Déby is polygamous and has three wives.[7][8] His first wife is an ethnic Zaghawa woman.[7] In 2010, Déby married his second wife, a Central African woman and the daughter of Abakar Sabone—a former Central African Republic government minister, advisor to Michel Djotodia, and leader of the Movement of Central African Liberators for Justice rebel group.[7] It is believed that Déby and his second wife have five children.[7]

Mahamat Déby's third wife, Dahabaya Oumar Souni, is a journalist and media advisor who is considered the First Lady of Chad.[7][8] Souni worked closely with her late father-in-law, President Idriss Déby, and was promoted to director of public relations for the office of the presidency from December 2019 until his death.[7] In May 2021, Dahabaya Oumar Souni was appointed as media advisor to the presidency of the Transitional Military Council and now works alongside her husband, President Mahamat Déby, as a member of his group of technical advisors.[8][9][10]

Military career[edit]

Mahamat Déby first enrolled at the Joint Grouping of military schools in Chad. He subsequently received training in France, at the military school of Aix-en-Provence. Upon his return he was enrolled in second promotion of semi direct of the school of officer inter arme and later was appointed to the service branch of the Security of State Institutions (DGSSIE), as a deputy commander of its infantry group. His first combat experience took place in April 2006 when rebels attacked the capital city of Chad and he later participated in combat in eastern Chad along with General Abu Bakr al Said, then director of police, Mahamat was given the rank of major afterward. In May 2009 he was made brigadier general and he shared command of Chadian forces during the Battle of Am Dam, where the army defeated the rebels.[11]

Following his victory, he was appointed in command of the armored squadrons and bodyguards of the SERS. In January 2013, he was appointed second in command of the Chadian special forces in Mali under general Oumar Bikimo. On 22 February, he led his army against rebels in the Adrar al-Ifoghas mountains in Northern Mali leading to the Battle of al-Ifoghas. They eliminated a rebel base said to be of "significant importance", inflicting heavy losses upon the rebels but also losing twenty-six men in the process, including Abdel Aziz Hassane Adam, a commander of special forces. Mahamat took full command of the FATIM and has since been leading operations against rebels in the North.[12]

President of the Transitional Military Council[edit]

Mahamat Déby meeting David Gilmour in 2021 to discuss U.S. support for a transition of power to a democratically elected government

After Mahamat's father, Idriss Déby, died at the hands of FACT on 20 April 2021, the military announced that the elected government and National Assembly have been dissolved and that a Transitional Military Council led by Mahamat will lead the nation for 18 months.[13] A new charter replaced the Constitution of Chad, making Mahamat the interim President and head of the armed forces.[14]

Some political actors within Chad have labeled the installing of the transitional military government a "coup", as the constitutional provisions regarding the filling of a presidential vacancy were not followed.[15] Namely, according to the constitution, the President of the National Assembly, Haroun Kabadi, should have been named Acting President after president Idriss Déby's death, and an early election called within a period of no less than 45 and no more than 90 days from the time of the vacancy.[16] However, one of Chad's main foreign policy allies, France, has defended the development as necessary, citing the "exceptional circumstances" caused by the rebellion.[17] The broader international community has also supported Déby, seeing him as a stable foothold in the Sahel.[18] Déby was even welcomed to Washington, D.C. as a part of a summit for African leaders.[19] Despite this recognition, FACT rebels have issued an open threat to the new government, stating that "Chad is not a monarchy" and vowing to continue fighting until they reach N'Djamena and depose Mahamat Déby from power.[20]

National Dialogue[edit]

After initially refusing to negotiate with insurgent groups, Déby softened his stance in August 2021, proposing a national dialogue. After his proposal was met with approval by rebel groups,[21] peace talks between government and rebel representatives started two months later. These peace talks culminated in the August 8th, 2022 peace agreement, signed in Doha, which established a national dialogue between Déby's government and the opposition,[22] intended to prepare the country for elections scheduled for the second half of 2022.[23] The peace agreement, though, was rejected by FACT and other opposition groups, as well as by civil society groups, who cited the absence of a guaranteed return to civilian rule.[24] This lack of support for the peace agreement led to limited participation in the national dialogue.[25] Without major opposition and civilian participation in the national dialogue, it concluded to extend the transition and postpone elections until at least October 2024.[25][26] In March 2023, Déby pardoned 380 jailed FACT members, many of whom were among the 400+ sentenced to life in prison for the death of his father,[27] in an attempt to have the group join peace talks, following their non-participation in the national dialogue.[28]

October 2022 protests[edit]

The Transitional Military Council's October 3 postponing of elections was met with significant pro-democracy demonstrations on Oct. 20th, the initial date of elections. These demonstrations primarily took place in the cities of N'Djamena and Moundou, and were primarily orchestrated by the opposition group Wakit Tamma and Succès Masra, leader of the Les Transformateurs party.[29] In response to the demonstrations, government security forces violently cracked down on protesters and the government orchestrated a days long internet blackout.[25] The violence ended in the deaths of between 50 and 200, including journalist Orédjé Narcisse, and the arrests of at least 600.[25][30] Of those 600+, 342 ended up sentenced to between 1 and 3 years in prison for charges related to the protests. The day was later deemed "Black Thursday" for the violence.[30] Following the demonstrations, Déby blamed protesters and organizers for the violence, and justified the government response by the claiming the protests were an organized insurrection.[31] Following the protests, various opposition political parties were suspended, among them Les Transformateurs and the Chadian Socialist Party.[32]

French support for presidency[edit]

He has received significant support in the West, most notably from France, its former colonial power.[33] Emmanuel Macron attended the funeral of Idriss Déby, where he pledged his support for the junior Déby's government and for the stability of Chad, stability which France further supported through Operation Barkhane, which positioned a 5,000+ French force in the Sahel, with their headquarters in Chad.[34] Déby also visited Macron at the Élysée Palace in June 2021, where the two discussed the political transition in Chad.[35] Despite the 2021 termination of Operation Barkhane, France has not demonstrated any wavering in their support of Déby and continues to position troops in the region,[36][37] despite having moved the remaining core of their Sahel forces to Niger.[38]


In July 2021 he counted on Qatar for reconciliation and economic operations in the nation of Chad.[39] Under his administration Chad's gross domestic product grew by 1.1% growth 2021 and 2.4% in 2022.[40]

Boko Haram[edit]

On 22 November 2022 an attack was launched by Boko Haram in the village of Ngouboua, killing at least 10 soldiers of the Chad National Army. Déby had previously stated that the organization had been attacking civilians with increased frequency, as they "no longer [had] the strength to hit bases".[41]

2022 Chad floods[edit]

In 2022 normal rainfalls occurred across Central Africa and West Africa between July and August.[42] In mid August floods began in Chad killing 22 people. An estimated 442,000 people were displaced[43] and a state of emergency was declared.[44]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ilunga, Patrick (10 October 2022). "Chadian junta leader Mahamat Deby sworn in as President". The East African. Retrieved 20 October 2022.
  2. ^ "Chad Ruler Raises Hackles with Drawn-Out 'Transition'". Agence France-Presse. Libreville, Gabon. Voice of America. 12 October 2022. Retrieved 20 October 2022.
  3. ^ "PORTRAIT". Présidence de la République du Tchad (in French). 20 April 2021. Retrieved 31 August 2023.
  4. ^ President's Biography: Chad Embassy in the United States
  5. ^ "Idriss Deby's son Kaka named interim head of state, says army spokesman". Reuters. April 20, 2021. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  6. ^ "Langzeitherrscher Idriss Déby Itno ist tot" (in German). Zeit Online. 20 April 2021. Archived from the original on 2 April 2023.
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Tchad: voici qui est la nouvelle première dame du pays". CamerounWeb. 2021-04-26. Archived from the original on 2021-08-03. Retrieved 2022-06-09.
  8. ^ a b c "Tchad: voici Dahabay oumar Souni, la communicante et 3è épouse du président du CMT". CamerounWeb. 2021-05-08. Archived from the original on 2022-06-09. Retrieved 2022-06-09.
  9. ^ "Tchad: le président du CMT s'entoure d'une vingtaine de conseillers techniques". Journal du Tchad. 2021-05-17. Archived from the original on 2021-06-20. Retrieved 2022-06-11.
  10. ^ "Présidence de la République du Tchad: Le Secrétariat Général de la Présidence". Office of the President of Chad. Archived from the original on 2022-05-11. Retrieved 2022-06-09.
  11. ^ "Chad: Slain Deby's son Mahamat Deby Itno heads military council". P.M. News. 20 April 2021. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  12. ^ "Le général Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, 29 ans et fils d'Idriss Deby, commande la force tchadienne au Mali". (in French). 16 February 2013. Retrieved 20 June 2013.
  13. ^ "Chad's President Idriss Déby dies 'in clashes with rebels'". BBC News. 20 April 2021. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  14. ^ Ramadane, Madjiasra Nako, Mahamat (April 21, 2021). "Chad in turmoil after Deby death as rebels, opposition challenge military". Reuters. Retrieved April 21, 2021.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  15. ^ "Chad president's death: Rivals condemn 'dynastic coup'". BBC News. 21 April 2021. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  16. ^ "Chad's Constitution of 2018" (PDF). Constitute Project. Archived (PDF) from the original on 20 April 2021.
  17. ^ Irish, John; Salaün, Tangi (April 22, 2021). "With eye on Islamist fight, France backs Chad military takeover". Reuters. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  18. ^ Gerald, Krieger (2022). "Challenges in Mali, the Importance of Legitimate Governance in Combatting Terrorism and Violent Extremism" (PDF). Journal of Strategic Security. 15 (3): 22–38. doi:10.5038/1944-0472.15.3.2009. JSTOR 48687538. S2CID 252262159. Retrieved 4 May 2023.
  19. ^ Tahingam, Pierre (13 December 2022). "Sommet USA-Afrique : Mahamat Idriss Deby prend part aux travaux". Journal du Tchad (in French). Retrieved 4 May 2023.
  20. ^ "Who are Chad's FACT rebels and what are their goals?". Al Jazeera. April 21, 2021. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  21. ^ "Chad Rebel Group FACT Says It's Willing to Join National Dialogue". VOA. Reuters. 28 August 2021. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  22. ^ Mills, Andrew (8 August 2022). "Chad signs peace pact with rebels, but main insurgents stay out". Reuters. Retrieved 4 May 2023.
  23. ^ Kum, Peter; Chahed, Nadia (29 October 2021). "Tchad: la junte engage des discussions avec les groupes rebelles et les partis de l'opposition". AA (in French). Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  24. ^ "Eight Priorities for the African Union in 2023". International Crisis Group. International Crisis Group. Retrieved 4 May 2023.
  25. ^ a b c d "Chad's Transition: Easing Tensions Online". International Crisis Group. International Crisis Group. 13 December 2022. Retrieved 1 May 2023.
  26. ^ Ramadane, Mahamat (3 October 2022). "Junta set to stay in power after Chad delays elections by two years". Reuters. Archived from the original on 3 October 2022.
  27. ^ Tahingam, Pierre (22 March 2023). "Tchad : au moins 400 rebelles impliqués dans la mort d'Idriss Deby condamnés à vie". Journal du Tchad (in French). Retrieved 4 May 2023.
  28. ^ Prentice, Alessandra (25 March 2023). "Chad pardons 380 rebels in apparent peace gesture". Reuters. Reuters. Retrieved 9 April 2023.
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  30. ^ a b Nodjimbadem, Katie (6 December 2022). "Chad's Coup Leader Stops Democracy in Its Tracks". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 9 April 2023.
  31. ^ Takadji, Edouard (24 October 2022). "Chad leader blames protest organizers for civilian deaths". AP News. Retrieved 9 April 2023.
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  33. ^ Marielle, Debos (25 January 2016). "COLONIAL VIOLENCE AND RESISTANCE IN CHAD (1900-1960)". SciencesPo Mass Violence and Resistance- Research Network. Sciences Po. Retrieved 1 May 2023.
  34. ^ Pelz, Daniel (23 April 2021). "Why France is backing Chad's new leader, Mahamat Idriss Deby". Retrieved 10 August 2023.
  35. ^ "Mahamat Déby's first foreign trip to Paris". Diplomat Magazine. Diplomat Magazine. Retrieved 9 April 2023.
  36. ^ "Macron announces the end of France's anti-Islamist Operation Barkhane in the Sahel". France 24. France 24. 10 June 2021. Retrieved 10 April 2023.
  37. ^ Schofield, Hugh (9 November 2022). "France calls time on anti-jihadist Operation Barkhane in Sahe". BBC News. Retrieved 10 April 2023.
  38. ^ Doukhan, Dr. David (28 November 2022). "The end of operation Barkhane". International Institute for Counterterrorism. International Institute for Counterterrorism. Retrieved 4 May 2023.
  39. ^ "CHAD/QATAR : Mahamat Déby expected in Doha to orchestrate (and finance) reconciliation - 22/07/2021". Africa Intelligence. 2021-07-22. Retrieved 2023-08-11.
  40. ^ "Chad Economic Outlook". African Development Bank Group - Making a Difference. 2019-03-29. Retrieved 2023-08-11.
  41. ^ "Chadian soldiers killed in attack by 'shadowy' Boko Haram". Al Jazeera. 23 November 2022. Retrieved 12 August 2023.
  42. ^ Ramadane, Mahamat (2022-09-06). "Thousands battle 'catastrophic' floods after Chad's heaviest rains in 30 years". Reuters. Retrieved 2023-08-11.
  43. ^ "Unprecedented flooding in Chad hits more than 340,000 people". RFI. 2022-08-28. Retrieved 2023-08-11.
  44. ^ "Chad declares state of emergency as floods affect one million". Al Jazeera. 20 October 2022. Retrieved 12 August 2023.