NIAMEY, 10 May 2021 – Chad’s junta leader, Mahamat Deby Itno aka Kaka, has visited neighboring Niger, his first trip abroad since he seized power last April 20.
Kaka assumed power at the helm of an 18-person military council a day after his father, long-time ruler Idriss Deby Itno was killed while visiting troops fighting rebels in a northern part of the country close to Libya.
During the visit to the Nigerien capital, Niamey, Kaka thanked his host, President Mohamed Bazoum for a warm welcome, describing the Nigerien leader as “my brother”.
“We came here to reaffirm our friendship and to thank President Bazoum for his support since the death of the Marshal [Idriss Deby Itno] – may God have mercy on his soul”.
Niger and Chad are two of the five countries of the greater Sahel Region who have thousands of their own troops deployed alongside over 5,000 French troops to fight Islamist extremists across the Sahel.
The five countries call themselves the G5.
“We have a force here in Niger in Tera – a contingent of the G5 Sahel – we came to support them, knowing that they lost the Marshal of Chad, supreme chief of the army,” Kaka told reporters in Niamey.
“We came to offer our condolences and to give them moral support,” General Mahamat Deby Itno added.
Niger’s President, Mohamed Bazoum, is believed to be one of the most knowledgeable persons on armed insurgents in the area, having served as minister of interior for Niger until his election earlier this year to the presidency.
In addition to having bases in Libya, thousands of Chadian rebels are believed to use areas in Niger’s remote southeastern border to prepare and launch incursions into Chad as well as to fall back, regroup, train and attack anew.