The death of Chadian president Idriss Déby on the frontline of battle has raised concern about the future of the country—and whether the leader’s passing signals the beginning of a downward spiral that could play right into the hands of jihadist fighters in Africa’s Sahel region.
“What’s going on is panic. There is huge concern about the next two weeks, there’s already a thought that with President Déby dead, the rebels will now be emboldened,” said The Africa Report’s Nicholas Norbrook. “They are now receiving war materials across the border from Libya. The role that Déby had was to take on, really, the toughest missions in zapping terrorists.”
Le Temps’ Richard Werly was more optimistic about Chad’s face-off with rebel groups. “Because of the French involvement, because of the massive presence of French troops in N’Djamena, I believe they can keep the capital city away from the rebels,” he argued.
The Daily Beast’s Nico Hines explained how the reaction to the former president’s death speaks to the larger-than-life image he has cultivated over the years: “[Déby] had this legendary element,” he said. “And leaders like Déby have been able to keep control of a country like Chad—which would otherwise be likely to suffer from factional infighting.”
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