Armed Conflict

03
May
13:08 UTC

Chad SITUATION UPDATE: CMT announces new transitional government amid temporary lull in clashes with rebel forces on May 2

Executive Summary

  • The Transitional Military Council (CMT) appointed a new transitional government on May 2. The body includes four opposition cabinet members out of a total 40 appointments. The government formation is likely intended to project a return to normalcy following a turbulent post-electoral transition amid rebel advances and the death of late President Idriss Deby. 
  • However, the limited inclusivity of the opposition in the government is likely to fuel continued grievances among the opposition actors that were excluded from the transitional government. This could manifest into sporadic outbreaks of instability, civil unrest, and anti-government protests. 
  • Meanwhile, the army claims to have killed hundreds of rebel Front for Alternation and Concord in Chad (FACT) fighters during operations in northern Kanem Region on April 29-30. While it is plausible that the military exaggerated casualty counts to downplay FACT’s previously stated military gains, no fighting has been reported since. However, clashes are likely to resume over the coming days.

Please be advised

  • A decree issued on May 2 indicates that the Transitional Military Council (CMT) appointed 40 ministers and secretaries of state as part of the new transitional government. Authorities also announced the lifting of the nationwide curfew.  
  • The CMT announced the creation of a new Ministry of National Reconciliation, appointing former rebel leader who later served as government advisor Acheikh Ibn Oumar as the Minister of State for National Reconciliation. 
  • Four of the new appointments come from the political opposition: one from the Party for Democracy and Independence (PDI), one from the Party for Liberties and Development (PLD), and two members of the opposition party National Union for Democracy and Renewal (UNDR).
  • UNDR leader Saleh Kebzabo reportedly issued a statement recognizing the new transitional government. 
  • Reports indicate that security forces forcefully repressed civil society protests in Sarh and Koumra, Moyen Chari Region on May 1. The protests were organized to denounce the CMT and French intervention in Chad’s internal affairs. A large turnout was recorded in N’Djamena on May 1 at funeral processions for citizens killed during previous anti-government protests on April 27. 
  • Unconfirmed reports from May 3 indicate that FACT leader Mahadi Mahamat Ali was captured by security forces assisted by Nigerien authorities. 
  • Meanwhile, on May 1 the Transitional Military Council released a statement claiming that they had captured 60 rebels and killed hundreds during operations against the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) positions in Nokou and other locations in the Kanem Region on April 29-30. Unconfirmed reports further indicate that authorities had seized FACT military equipment, showcasing an image of anti-aircraft defense systems. 

Assessments & Forecast

  1. The establishment of a transitional government is extremely significant as part of the CMT’s attempts to project a return to relative normalcy and political stability, which is likely to be bolstered by the support of prominent opposition parties such as the PLD and UNDR. Kebzabo’s recognition of the transitional government is especially important in enhancing the CMT’s political legitimacy given his reputation as one of the most prominent opposition actors and vocal critics of former President Idriss Deby, and considering that he had boycotted the April 11 elections and refused to acknowledge the CMT until now. However, other major opposition powers, such as the Transformers Movement, remain excluded and appear to maintain their rejection of the CMT’s authority. 
  2. In this context, the appointments of opposition figures to the transitional government and the establishment of a National Reconciliation Ministry were likely intended to display the CMT’s alleged inclusive approach. However, as these appointments included representatives of only three opposition political parties, it appears that the CMT specifically sought to appease more influential opposition forces. Additionally, the large turnout witnessed at events in N’Djamena and Moyen Chari Region denotes persisting civil grievances against transitional authorities, which is unlikely to be appeased by the limited opposition inclusion in government. 
  3. FORECAST: Going forward, political tensions are likely to persist among the opposition actors who were excluded from the transitional government formation. Continued political grievances could manifest into sporadic outbreaks of instability, civil unrest, and anti-government protests, including in the capital N’Djamena. Such incidents are likely to be fuelled by the expected harsh security treatment of protesters. Similarly, anti-French sentiment is also likely to persist given that France’s continued support for the CMT is likely to reinforce perceptions that France is undermining democratic aspirations. 
  4. Meanwhile, the army’s response to FACT forces in north Kanem Region comes in direct response to FACT’s claims of capturing Nokou and shooting down a military helicopter on April 29 and is notable given that the details released by the CMT denote significant damage to the rebel’s capabilities and personnel. While it is plausible that the military exaggerated casualty counts to downplay FACT’s stated operational gains, the fact that the region has witnessed a temporary lull in clashes since April 30 seems to suggest relative military success. Meanwhile, the fact that official sources have not corroborated the reports regarding the capture of the FACT leader significantly reduces the credibility of such claims, as CMT is incentivized to announce such development to showcase their military capabilities. FORECAST: Despite a relative lull in fighting over recent days, clashes are expected to resume with the rebels likely to relaunch their offensive to seize key positions in Kanem, particularly Mao. At the same time, the military may seek to capitalize on the recently claimed operational achievements to initiate another offensive against rebel positions to not only prevent the rebels from progressing towards N’Djamena but also to push them further north. 

Recommendations

  1. Those operating or residing in N’Djamena on May 3 and over the coming days are advised to minimize movement and avoid the vicinity of large gatherings given the ongoing political situation and the significant potential for violence and unrest.
  2. Minimize nonessential movement throughout Chad given the uncertainty and potential for violence.
  3. Those operating in Chad are advised to consult with us at [email protected] or +44 20-3540-0434 for support.
COUNTRY RISK LEVEL Medium
AFFECTED AREA Nationwide, Chad
INCIDENT RISK LEVEL High
STRENGTH OF SOURCE Credible

Executive Summary

  • The Transitional Military Council (CMT) appointed a new transitional government on May 2. The body includes four opposition cabinet members out of a total 40 appointments. The government formation is likely intended to project a return to normalcy following a turbulent post-electoral transition amid rebel advances and the death of late President Idriss Deby. 
  • However, the limited inclusivity of the opposition in the government is likely to fuel continued grievances among the opposition actors that were excluded from the transitional government. This could manifest into sporadic outbreaks of instability, civil unrest, and anti-government protests. 
  • Meanwhile, the army claims to have killed hundreds of rebel Front for Alternation and Concord in Chad (FACT) fighters during operations in northern Kanem Region on April 29-30. While it is plausible that the military exaggerated casualty counts to downplay FACT’s previously stated military gains, no fighting has been reported since. However, clashes are likely to resume over the coming days.

Please be advised

  • A decree issued on May 2 indicates that the Transitional Military Council (CMT) appointed 40 ministers and secretaries of state as part of the new transitional government. Authorities also announced the lifting of the nationwide curfew.  
  • The CMT announced the creation of a new Ministry of National Reconciliation, appointing former rebel leader who later served as government advisor Acheikh Ibn Oumar as the Minister of State for National Reconciliation. 
  • Four of the new appointments come from the political opposition: one from the Party for Democracy and Independence (PDI), one from the Party for Liberties and Development (PLD), and two members of the opposition party National Union for Democracy and Renewal (UNDR).
  • UNDR leader Saleh Kebzabo reportedly issued a statement recognizing the new transitional government. 
  • Reports indicate that security forces forcefully repressed civil society protests in Sarh and Koumra, Moyen Chari Region on May 1. The protests were organized to denounce the CMT and French intervention in Chad’s internal affairs. A large turnout was recorded in N’Djamena on May 1 at funeral processions for citizens killed during previous anti-government protests on April 27. 
  • Unconfirmed reports from May 3 indicate that FACT leader Mahadi Mahamat Ali was captured by security forces assisted by Nigerien authorities. 
  • Meanwhile, on May 1 the Transitional Military Council released a statement claiming that they had captured 60 rebels and killed hundreds during operations against the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) positions in Nokou and other locations in the Kanem Region on April 29-30. Unconfirmed reports further indicate that authorities had seized FACT military equipment, showcasing an image of anti-aircraft defense systems. 

Assessments & Forecast

  1. The establishment of a transitional government is extremely significant as part of the CMT’s attempts to project a return to relative normalcy and political stability, which is likely to be bolstered by the support of prominent opposition parties such as the PLD and UNDR. Kebzabo’s recognition of the transitional government is especially important in enhancing the CMT’s political legitimacy given his reputation as one of the most prominent opposition actors and vocal critics of former President Idriss Deby, and considering that he had boycotted the April 11 elections and refused to acknowledge the CMT until now. However, other major opposition powers, such as the Transformers Movement, remain excluded and appear to maintain their rejection of the CMT’s authority. 
  2. In this context, the appointments of opposition figures to the transitional government and the establishment of a National Reconciliation Ministry were likely intended to display the CMT’s alleged inclusive approach. However, as these appointments included representatives of only three opposition political parties, it appears that the CMT specifically sought to appease more influential opposition forces. Additionally, the large turnout witnessed at events in N’Djamena and Moyen Chari Region denotes persisting civil grievances against transitional authorities, which is unlikely to be appeased by the limited opposition inclusion in government. 
  3. FORECAST: Going forward, political tensions are likely to persist among the opposition actors who were excluded from the transitional government formation. Continued political grievances could manifest into sporadic outbreaks of instability, civil unrest, and anti-government protests, including in the capital N’Djamena. Such incidents are likely to be fuelled by the expected harsh security treatment of protesters. Similarly, anti-French sentiment is also likely to persist given that France’s continued support for the CMT is likely to reinforce perceptions that France is undermining democratic aspirations. 
  4. Meanwhile, the army’s response to FACT forces in north Kanem Region comes in direct response to FACT’s claims of capturing Nokou and shooting down a military helicopter on April 29 and is notable given that the details released by the CMT denote significant damage to the rebel’s capabilities and personnel. While it is plausible that the military exaggerated casualty counts to downplay FACT’s stated operational gains, the fact that the region has witnessed a temporary lull in clashes since April 30 seems to suggest relative military success. Meanwhile, the fact that official sources have not corroborated the reports regarding the capture of the FACT leader significantly reduces the credibility of such claims, as CMT is incentivized to announce such development to showcase their military capabilities. FORECAST: Despite a relative lull in fighting over recent days, clashes are expected to resume with the rebels likely to relaunch their offensive to seize key positions in Kanem, particularly Mao. At the same time, the military may seek to capitalize on the recently claimed operational achievements to initiate another offensive against rebel positions to not only prevent the rebels from progressing towards N’Djamena but also to push them further north. 

Recommendations

  1. Those operating or residing in N’Djamena on May 3 and over the coming days are advised to minimize movement and avoid the vicinity of large gatherings given the ongoing political situation and the significant potential for violence and unrest.
  2. Minimize nonessential movement throughout Chad given the uncertainty and potential for violence.
  3. Those operating in Chad are advised to consult with us at [email protected] or +44 20-3540-0434 for support.
COUNTRY RISK LEVEL Medium
AFFECTED AREA Nationwide, Chad
INCIDENT RISK LEVEL High
STRENGTH OF SOURCE Credible