Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari and Lieutenant General Mahamat Idriss Deby, Chad’s new leader on Friday, May 14, held talks on the transition process in Chad and counter-terrorism operation in Lake Chad Basin.
Mahamat Idriss Deby became President of Chad’s Transitional Military Council (TMC) after his father Idriss Deby Itno died of injuries suffered in the frontline in an incursion by the Libya-based Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) rebel group.
Although the meeting on Friday was held behind closed doors, the two leaders were reported to have discussed the situation in Chad and the country’s commitment to regional security efforts.
According to Tchadinfo, the Chadian leader was expected to brief President Buhari on the situation which followed the death of the former president and the establishment of a Transitional Military Council.
According to the paper, Idriss Déby would also reassure his Nigerian counterpart of Chad’s compliance with its commitments, including its participation in the Multinational Joint Force (MNJTF) in the Lake Chad Basin, the G5 Sahel joint force and others.
On his part, President Buhari assured Chad of Nigeria’s support for a smooth transition and readiness to help in areas deemed necessary.
In a statement, President Buhari said that Chad and Nigeria were bound together by culture and geography.
He said that “Nigerians know and appreciate the role Chad played in helping us to combat terrorism, and we will continue the collaboration.”
“Late Marshal Itno was a personal friend, and a friend of Nigeria and Chad has been very steadfast in defending Nigeria, so the country should not hesitate to ask for help in areas it deemed necessary,” he added.
He disclosed that Nigeria offered to assist with smooth transition within 18 months.
The Chadian leader was quoted to have also appreciated Nigeria for the solidarity shown after the death of his father while stressing his country’s readiness to be guided in the journey towards constitutional rule.
“You were very close to Marshal Itno. I’m here to reaffirm that relationship, and for you to support our transition,” he said.
Chad is an important neighbour and counter-insurgency partner in the Lake Chad region and Nigeria’s Northeast, where Boko Haram and its splinter faction, ISWAP, are waging a bloody insurgency campaign against Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon.
On Monday, May 10, Chad’s TMC leader visited Niger where he met President Mohamed Bazoum and Chadian soldiers deployed in the Litako-Gourma, in the tri-border area.
It was his first trip outside Chad since his appointment as leader of the military transitional council in April, after the death of his father.
In his press briefing, Deby said “We are here to affirm our friendship and to salute President Bazoum for all his support since the death of President Déby.”
The Chadian detachment in Niger is supporting the G-5 Sahel force operation against terror groups.
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