‘Technically a Coup’: Chad’s Military Suspends Constitution as Slain President Deby’s Son Takes Over

Chad is just one of several African nations on which former colonial powers have kept tight reins through military cooperation, debt diplomacy, and multinational corporate investment in resources extraction. The Sahelian nation plays a key role in sustaining the French military presence in West Africa.

After the unexpected death of Chadian President Idriss Déby Itno on the battlefield on Tuesday, the military has quickly moved to put his son, Mahmud ibn Idriss Déby Itno, in charge. However, critics are calling the move a coup against Chad’s constitution and a message of continuity to France, Chad’s former colonizer and close ally.

In the aftermath, the military moved quickly to put the 37-year-old ibn Idriss in charge, including suspending the constitution in favor of a transitional charter and creating an 18-month transitional council, according to Al Jazeera. The army also dissolved the government and the National Assembly, closed all air and land borders, and instituted a nighttime curfew from 6pm to 5am.

‘Coup’ or ‘Continuity’?

However, this flurry of changes has caught the attention of onlookers who are weary of yet another coup attempt in the Sahelian nation of 16 million. Ayo Sogunro, a Nigerian author and human rights lawyer, blasted the move as a “coup against the constitution” and called on the African Union to repudiate ibn Idriss’ move.

Abubakar Sidiq Usman, a Nigerian blogger who serves as special assistant to Nigerian Senate President…

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