Trouble in Chad
Around 50 people were killed Thursday in Chad amid clashes between security forces and protesters over the junta's decision to delay returning to civilian rule by two years. Hundreds more were injured. The anger is directed at Mahamat Idriss Déby, who took over the Central African nation in April 2021 after his strongman dad and namesake was assassinated by a rebel group. Upon assuming power, the four-star general quickly dissolved parliament to rule by decree but promised to hold a new election in 18 months (Chadians were not happy about it). Earlier this month, military leaders pushed that deadline back to October 2024. Déby, 38, was sworn in last week as "transitional” president and says he plans to run for the job. Will Chadians let him? It's unclear if the younger Déby has as firm a grip as his father, who led the country with an iron fist for 30 years and was considered a reliable Western ally against Islamic extremism. One external player in a tricky spot is former colonial power France: Paris is wary of rising anti-French sentiment there and wants to keep a low profile, but it also needs stability because French energy major Total does a lot of business in oil-rich Chad.