President Idris Deby, who died earlier today at the age of 68 after sustaining injuries when he and his troops engaged in gun battle with rebels at the northern part of the country was like a horse. The beast is never afraid running headlong into skirmishes.
Last year, Deby and his troops fought the Boko Haram insurgents and in the process, re-captured a swath of territory from them and handed it back to Nigeria.
Below is a story we published on this platform on 13 April, 2020 on it, entitled:
Idris Deby changes mind, will continue war against Boko Haram
By Ademola Adegbamigbe
President Idris Deby of Chad has made a U-turn on his move to pull out of the regional anti-militant fight days after he made the statement, africafeeds reported.
After his successful campaign against Boko Haram last week, he made a grand entry into Ndjamena the way Julius Caesar did after his defeat of Pompey. Immediately, he became the toast of the Western media as the strongman of the Chad Basin, the Maghreb and West Africa.
–Watch video of Chadian soldiers fighting Boko Haram here
–Watch video of Deby’s visit to the war front here
And as an African whose head is bound to swell after listening to his own panegyrics, Idris Deby said he was no longer to take part in any blitzkrieg against the insurgents. In fact, he invited Nigeria, the big neigbour, to come and take over the liberated territory since he was not another Attila the Hun, ready for territorial conquest!
He told his soldiers in the battle field that “This place will be our zone until Nigeria sends its troops. Stay with them for about a month. Do not let them free captured weapons or any Boko Haram (fighters).” The pull out was to affect operations related to Boko Haram in the Lake Chad basin and other militant groups in the Sahel region.
However, another statement from Ndjamena made Deby’s colleagues in the Chad basin heave a sigh of relief. According to the africafeed report, a government statement has now said that the Chadian army will continue to participate in joint military operations against militant jihadist groups. “The statement said those efforts will cover the region, including the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali.”
According to the government, Deby’s remarks were only meant to signal that the army would no longer conduct unilateral operations beyond its borders.
“It was never a question for Chad of disengaging from the (anti-Boko Haram) Multinational Joint Task Force or from the G5 Sahel joint force, much less from (MINUSMA),” the statement said.
The report has it further: “Chad is part of the Joint Multinational Task Force, JMNTF which is made up of countries in the Lake Chad region impacted significantly by the Boko Haram insurgency. The main members are Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon with Benin also contributing some personnel.
Chad is also part of the G5 Sahel operation to fight terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, AQIM. The G5 in the Sahel also comprises Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Burkina Faso. President Deby in recent weeks visited Chadian troops in areas Boko Haram and other militants have been launching attacks against Chadian soldiers. Chad destroyed five bases of the Boko Haram in response to an attack on a military base on March 23 that killed 98 Chadian soldiers.
Deby said after arriving back from his visit to the troops that “Our troops have died for Lake Chad and the Sahel. From today, no Chadian soldiers will take part in a military mission outside Chad.” He had already claimed victory over the terrorist group, Boko Haram saying their bases have been completely destroyed. Since Boko Haram launched its bloody insurgency in 2009 in northeastern Nigeria more than 30,000 people have been killed and nearly 3 million displaced. Boko Haram’s activities have extended beyond Nigeria to other countries within the Lake Chad Basin covering Niger, Chad and Cameroon. These countries continue to struggle to completely defeat the terror group and often suffer deadly attacks from the group.”