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Chadian National Army - Command Turbulence

President Idriss Deby carried out a military shake-up on 15 November 2005, two days after attacks on two military installations. The changes included the chiefs of the Armed Forces, Gendarmerie, Nomadic Guard, and National Police. The most surprising change was the removal of Deby relative, General Mahamat Saleh Ibrahim, who had served as Nomadic Guard Commandant since Deby came to power. Ibrahim was considered Deby's most loyal family and military member, who according to a Deby family member, usually kept his opinions to himself. He recently disagreed with Deby over the path the country was on and paid for it with his job. Two weeks earlier, the Government announced the dissolution of the Presidential Guard and replaced it with a new presidential security force.

Many of the newly-appointed commanders are relatives of Deby, the new Armed Forces chief Tirgo, and the new Gendarmerie Commander. These changes come in the aftermath of military desertions over the past two months and represent an attempt to weed out disloyal officers and instill some discipline into the military. Many of the newly appointed regional military and gendarmerie commanders were related to Deby, Tirgo, or the newly-appointed Gendarmerie Commander Abakar Abdelkerim Daoud. There are more ethnic Goranes in key positions.

Following the 13 April 2006 rebel attack on N'Djamena, the government arrested at least 16 high-ranking army officers who reportedly were being held in secret prisons without trial at year's end. Among those detained was Colonel Ismat, the ANS director of analysis. He was released without being charged in October and returned to service. The NGO Human Rights Without Borders, which reported that secret detention centers had been created, appealed to the government to release information on the detainees, but was unable to obtain further information. The NGO held three press conferences to publicize the names of the detainees and draw attention to their arbitrary arrest.

Outgoing Chief of General Staff Hassan Algadam Al-Djinedi, who speaks no French, was replaced in October 2009 because he could not communicate with his boss, DEFMIN Kamougue, who speaks no Arabic, rather than for any reasons related to his politics or performance, according to diplomats here familiar with the case. The French had tried to remedy the situation by sending Al-Djinedi to Paris to study French, but were chagrined when the DEFMIN prevailed on President Deby to replace him abruptly with a French- and Sara-speaking officer, General Mbaiomdenande Dionadji Alain, who hails from Kamougue's native southern Chad.

The former Chief of General Staff is an ethnic "Arab." (This is an ethnic category in the Chadian national census that refers to various tribal groups, mostly nomadic or semi-nomadic, that inhabit the central Sahelian regions of Chad from east to west, comprising 10 to 15 percent of the national population.) Al-Djinedi had a long history as an actor in Chad's perpetual civil wars since 1975. He was associated with pro-Libyan, anti-Chad forces in the 1979-80 war between Chad and Libya, where he fled in 1980. Al-Djinedi returned to Chad in 1992 but became disaffected and fled to Sudan in 1994, forming a rebel movement known as the Concorde Nationale du Tchad. In late 2007, Al-Djinedi signed the Sirte Accord between the GOC and an array of Chad rebel leaders and was one of the first rebel chiefs to return to Chad under its auspices. He was appointed Secretary of State for Defense (the number two position in the Defense Ministry) in January 2008. He remained loyal to Deby throughout the violent events of 2008 and was rewarded by being appointed Chief of General Staff in April 2009, just in time for him to command the Chadian Army in its victorious campaign to repulse a major rebel offensive in May 2009, winning the Battle of Am Dam in eastern Chad that shattered the invading rebel forces.

Despite his abrupt destitution as Chief of General Staff, Al-Djinedi may well continue to hold important positions, reflecting his status as a model former rebel chieftain who renounced violence and returned to the Deby regime's fold, to which he as so far been loyal. Fairly frequent rotation of Chiefs of General Staff is not uncommon in the Chadian military and ensures that the prestige and perks of high military position are shared among as many aspirants as possible and that no incumbent stays long enough to use it as a political power base.

On 26 October 2009 brigade General Ali maide Kebir was appointed new Chief of Staff of the Chadian army in the wake of significant changes in the army since October 12th. Kebir replaces Brigadier General Ramadan Touka Qureia who held the position for a year and a half. The new chief of staff named Thursday is 48 years old. His deputies first and second Brigadier-General Marc Ndoubayo and General Daoud Brahim Yaya respectively.

No one has forgotten that in 2012, by a decree of the head of state, generals of division including the following names had been broken the brigade general grade: Ismail Hour Siam Tahir Taïro Erda, Youssouf Mahamat Itno Ahmat Abakar ABDELKERIM Daoud. In the same movement the brigadiers Ousmane Mahamat Itno and Bahr Idriss Abdou Serbouno respectively were reduced to Battalion Chief and Colonel rank, while Souleymane Colonel Abakar had plummeted to sub-lieutenant.

No one will ask the victims of an angered Chadian potentate how they feel after such a steep decline, but with practices like these, it is obvious that Chad will wait a long time before having a respectable army and met with commendable grades and Orthodox hierarchy. Major General Idriss Annour, former CEO of NAFI, was demoted to mere rank of soldier in 2013 by presidential decree. It was later revealed that his downfall was caused because he had tried to put his nose in financial transactions between Hinda Deby Itno and ACC Cabinet. By presidential decree signed 02 May 2014, Major General Issackha Sachar Tockou was demoted to 2nd class soldier and removed from the rolls of the armed and security forces.

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Page last modified: 31-10-2016 18:56:50 ZULU