342 views | Akpan Akata | April 21, 2021
United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has underlined the global body’s solidarity with Chad following the death of the country’s leader, announced on Tuesday.
President Idriss Déby died from injuries sustained in clashes with rebels in the north over the weekend, according to state media reports.
Guterres says he was deeply saddened to learn of Deby’s death, UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a statement.
Guterres has expressed his profound condolences to the President’s family, and to the people and Government of Chad.
“President Déby was a key partner for the UN and made significant contributions to regional stability, particularly as part of efforts to combat terrorism, violent extremism and organized crime in the Sahel”, the statement said.
“In these difficult times, the United Nations stands with the Chadian people in their efforts to build a peaceful and prosperous future.”
President Déby, 68, had been in power for more than three decades. The announcement of his death came a day after provisional results of elections held on 11 April showed he would win a sixth term in office.
The President of the UN General Assembly, Volkan Bozkir, has also expressed his condolences to the people of Chad.
“The President said he would soon convene a General Assembly meeting to pay tribute to Mr. Deby’s memory”, his Spokesperson, Brenden Varma, said during his daily briefing from New York.
After 10 Chadian peacekeepers serving with the UN mission in Mali (MINUSMA) were killed in a terrorist attack on January 20, 2019, the UN chief of peace operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, went to N’Djamena, the capital of Chad, to pay tribute to them in a ceremony organised by the Idriss Déby government.
“I am in N’Djamena to pay tribute to 10 peacekeepers who made the ultimate sacrifice for peacebuilding in Mali”, said Under-Secretary-General Lacroix on Twitter. “Their bravery imposes respect because Chad is the country that has lost the most men in combat serving with MINUSMA.”
The attack, which targeted the mission’s camp in Aguelhok, in the Kidal region, in northern Mali, took place in the early hours of Sunday, January 20, 2019 and left at least 25 ‘blue helmets’ wounded in addition to the 10 who lost their lives.
Five days later, on Friday, another two MINUSMA peacekeepers, from Sri Lanka this time, were killed in a roadside bomb explosion near Douentza, in the central region of Mopti.
After a failed coup six years ago, a proliferation of armed groups fighting government forces and their allies in the centre and northern areas of the country has plunged the country into conflict. Today, MINUSMA is the deadliest mission to serve in as a UN ‘blue helmet’ with some 180 paying the ultimate sacrifice, since it was established in 2013.
Lacroix praised the heroism of the Chadian contingent in not only repelling a well-coordinated attack and protecting many lives in Aguelhok, but also in taking every precaution to avoid civilian casualties.
He also conveyed the UN’s “immense gratitude” for Chad’s commitment to the restoration of peace and security in Mali and the Sahel. Behind Burkina Faso, the country is the second largest troop contributor to MINUSMA with 1,450 troops and 22 policemen, as of November 2018.
“We owe it to the deceased to carry out the implementation of Mali’s peace and reconciliation agreement, re-instate the rule of law and enable at last economic development”, stated Lacroix. “I am confident that with the participation of the parties to the agreement and our partners, we will meet these objectives.”