French Troops To Stay In Chad, Says Macron Envoy

France will remain soldiers in junta-run Chad while retreating elsewhere in Africa due to issues with other military governments, according to an adviser for French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday.

French influence in its old West African colonies has dwindled as military rulers fighting Islamist rebellions in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger evacuated its troops and improved relations with Russia.

Around 1,000 French troops are stationed in Chad, one of the region’s few remaining French allies, which has been headed by General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno since 2021.

“Of course we will stay” in Chad, said Jean-Marie Bockel, Macron’s ambassador for Africa in charge of debating France’s expanded military presence on the continent.

Macron has sought talks with Chadian authorities on “an evolution” of France’s military presence to “better adapt it” to regional security and military issues, according to Bockel, during a meeting with Deby Itno in N’Djamena.

Bockel also stated that he emphasized to Deby Itno France’s “admiration” for Chad’s transition to civilian administration, which began after the junta commander gained power following his father’s iron-fisted control of more than three decades.

Deby Itno will run in a presidential election on May 6, returning power to civilian government, and he appears to be on track to win, with significant opposition members deported, coopted, or assassinated.

His primary competitor and cousin, Yaya Dillo Djerou, was assassinated last week in a “execution” described by his party. According to the authorities, Dillo fiercely resisted arrest in a shootout with soldiers.

Deby Itno, 39, first promised to return control to citizens in 18 months, but put the deadline back by two years. He has previously stated that he will not run in the election.

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