The head of the military junta and transitional president in Chad, General Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, left N’Djamena on Tuesday January 23 for an official visit to Russia “at the invitation” of his counterpart Vladimir Putin, the two announced country. General Déby “left N’Djamena this morning for Moscow. At the invitation of President (…) Vladimir Putin. The Head of State is making an official visit to the Russian capital,” the Chadian presidency wrote on its Facebook page on Tuesday.

The Kremlin confirmed the visit announced at the very last moment by N’Djamena and a meeting planned for Wednesday between the two men, who will talk about “the prospects for the development of Russian-Chadian relations in different areas, and current regional and international issues », According to a press release from the Russian presidency.

France’s last privileged partner in the Sahel

Chad, where the French army still maintains a contingent of a thousand men, is France’s last privileged partner in the Sahel, after the forced and forced withdrawal of French soldiers from Mali in August 2022, from Burkina Faso in February 2023 and Niger in December 2023. Each of these three countries moved closer to Russia at the same time, particularly on a military level.

Since 2013 and until then, notably with its “Barkhane” operation which ended in 2022, France was the pillar of a military coalition comprising these three countries and Chad, at war against the jihadists, particularly in the region of the three borders on the borders of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.

Russia, notably through mercenaries from the private company Wagner, is also very present and influential in the Central African Republic, Libya and Sudan, three countries bordering Chad.

Mahamat Déby was proclaimed head of state by the army, at the head of a junta of fifteen generals, on April 20, 2021 following the death of his father, Idriss Déby Itno, killed by rebels on his way to the front after having ruled Chad with an iron fist for thirty years.

The young general then aged 37, whose army is considered the pillar of the war against jihadists in the region, was immediately dubbed by the international community, led by Paris, after promising to return power to civilians. by elections at the end of an eighteen-month “transition”. Eighteen months later, he pushed back this deadline by two years.