Mahamat Déby

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Mahamat Déby
محمد ديبي
Participation of Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, in the 6th European Union Africa Union Summit (cropped).jpg
Déby in 2022
President of the Transitional Military Council of Chad
Assumed office
20 April 2021
Prime MinisterAlbert Pahimi Padacké
Preceded byIdriss Déby (as President of Chad)
Personal details
Born (1984-01-01) 1 January 1984 (age 38)[1]
Massakory, Chad
Spouse(s)Three wives, including Dahabaya Oumar Souni
Military service
Allegiance Chad
Branch/service Chadian Ground Forces
RankChad-Army-OF-9.svg 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 1 January 1984), also known as Mahamat Kaka,[2] is a Chadian army general. He is the president[3] of the Transitional Military Council.[4] He is the son of the late Chadian President Idriss Déby. He gained power as the acting President of Chad on 20 April 2021 when his father, 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.[5][6] His first wife is an ethnic Zaghawa woman.[5] In 2010, Déby married his second wife, a Central African woman and the daughter of Abakar Sabon, a former Central African Republic government minister, advisor to Michel Djotodia, and leader of the Movement of Central African Liberators for Justice rebel group.[5] It is believed that Déby and his second wife have five children.[5]

Mahamat Déby's third wife, Dahabaya Oumar Souni, is a journalist and media advisor who is considered the First Lady of Chad.[5][6] 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.[5] 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.[6][7][8]

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 for the Security of State Institutions (SERS), as a deputy commander of the groupement of infenterie. His first combat experience took place in April 2006 when rebels attacked the capital city of Chad and later participated in combat in eastern Chad along with General Abu Bakr al Said, then director of gendarmery, Mahamat was given the rank of major afterward. He led forces when he took part in the command of Chadian forces during the Battle of Am Dam, where his army defeated the rebels.[9]

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.[10]

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.[11] A new charter replaced the Constitution of Chad, making Mahamat the interim President and head of the armed forces.[12]

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.[13] 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.[14] However, one of Chad's main foreign policy allies, France, has defended the development as necessary, citing the "exceptional circumstances" caused by the rebellion.[15] Furthermore, the 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.[16]

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,[17] talks between government and rebel representatives started two months later. The national dialogue between Déby's government and the opposition was supposed to prepare the country for elections scheduled for the second half of 2022.[18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "PORTRAIT". Présidence de la République du Tchad (in French). 20 April 2021. Retrieved 23 April 2021.
  2. ^ "Idriss Deby's son Kaka named interim head of state, says army spokesman". Reuters. April 20, 2021. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  3. ^ "Biography of the President of the Transitional Military Council". Presidency of the Republic of Chad (in French). Retrieved 10 May 2022.
  4. ^ "Chad President Idriss Deby dies visiting front-line troops: Army". Al Jazeera. April 20, 2021. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ 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 2022-05-09. Retrieved 2022-06-09.
  7. ^ "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.
  8. ^ "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.
  9. ^ "Chad: Slain Deby's son Mahamat Deby Itno heads military council". P.M. News. 20 April 2021. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  10. ^ "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.
  11. ^ "Chad's President Idriss Déby dies 'in clashes with rebels'". BBC News. Retrieved 20 April 2021.
  12. ^ Ramadane, Madjiasra Nako, Mahamat (April 21, 2021). "Chad in turmoil after Deby death as rebels, opposition challenge military". Reuters. Retrieved April 21, 2021.
  13. ^ "Chad president's death: Rivals condemn 'dynastic coup'". BBC News. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  14. ^ "Chad's Constitution of 2018" (PDF). Constitute Project. Archived (PDF) from the original on 20 April 2021.
  15. ^ Irish, John; Salaün, Tangi (April 22, 2021). "With eye on Islamist fight, France backs Chad military takeover". Reuters. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  16. ^ "Who are Chad's FACT rebels and what are their goals?". Al Jazeera. April 21, 2021. Retrieved April 22, 2021.
  17. ^ "Chad Rebel Group FACT Says It's Willing to Join National Dialogue". VOA. 28 August 2021. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  18. ^ 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.