• on aprile 23, 2021

Chaos in Chad, missionaries’ reports: “the situation has deteriorated. It always happens at the expense of the people”

Italian fidei donum Catholic missions learned of the death of Chad’s President Idriss Déby Itno, 68, killed on Monday April 19 following clashes with rebels belonging to the Front for Change and Concord in the province of Kanen, northern Chad. “We are clearly facing a critical moment”, says Fr Silvano Perissinotto, fidei donum priest from Treviso, serving as missionary in Fianga, in the diocese of Pala, southern Chad. The military’s establishment of the Transitional Military Council of the Republic of Chad – even though Deby’s son was named as its interim President – is a dangerous move. It’s a de facto military regime”

Power struggles. The Council is to lead the country for 18 months until elections, according to a note released by the military. Fr Perissinotto remarked: “18 months is a long time given Chad’s current circumstances, market by extreme poverty, and further  aggravated by the Covid-19 pandemic and by rebel attacks from the north.” “As always, the people always pay the price”, the missionary said. “In the south of the country, where we are located, school education is virtually ineffective, there is no health care, not to mention the transport system. The clashes between the government and its opponents reflect the power struggle for the country’s resources, its raw materials. He added: “France is supporting President Deby’s government, while Turkey and the Arab countries are backing the rebels. We will now have to see who takes action and how. That will help us gain insight into the situation.”

What are the next moves? “It remains to be seen whether the rebels will be powerful enough to attack the capital”, said Fr Achille Bocci, fidei donum priest at the Djodo Gassa mission, also in the diocese of Pala. “No impact can be felt here in the south, owing its remoteness, we are just spectators. The unfolding of events seems odd to my people: the rebel attack on the armed forces unit that President Bedy was visiting on Sunday… Reportedly his fighting armoured vehicles failed to open fire on the attackers, the latter having far fewer weapons and in smaller numbers.”

Nothing ever changes. “A complex, protracted, insidious power struggle is bound to ensue, firstly within Débi’s ethnic group, the Zagawa people in north-eastern Chad, between his large Itno family and the rival Hagar family, his longstanding main rival and competitor, extremely wealthy and with high-ranking cultural representatives. This new power struggle between the two aforementioned families could expand to involve the Goran ethnic group, in northwest Chad, and the Bedouin people of the far north. In conclusion, nothing ever changes in martyred Chad.”


(*) editorial staff, “Popoli e Missione” and “Noticum”