Chadian President Idriss Deby is Africa’s new field marshal
London, August 12, 2020 (AltAfrica)-Chadian President Idriss Deby has been named Africa’s new field marshal by his parliament.
Deby, a 68-year-old general who came to power in 1990 was honoured during Tuesday’s celebration of the country’s 60th anniversary of independence from France.
It is the highest military rank in the country. Currently there are two living field marshals; ex military commander in chief Mohamed Hussein Tantawi (Active Duty) and President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt (Active Duty).
The parliamentary speaker explained it was in recognition of him leading an offensive against jihadists in April.
The country has been facing attacks from Islamist militants like its neighbours across the Sahel region.
“You are an icon and a symbol for Chad,” the speaker of the assembly, Haroun Kabadi, was quoted as saying during the ceremony.
He has already updated his twitter handle to add the title maréchal – the french for field marshall
Toute mon infinie gratitude à l'Assemblée Nationale pour l'acte historique qui consacre ma modeste personne à la Dignité de Maréchal du Tchad. Je dédie cette dignité suprême à mes frères d'armes. C'est à eux que revient le mérite des faits d'armes qui est salué par le peuple. pic.twitter.com/e5XPd2OBPV— Maréchal Idriss Deby Itno (@MIdrissDebyItno) August 11, 2020
The president dedicated the honour “to all my brothers in arms”.
“The threat of terrorism is still there, and it is ruthless… The fight against terrorism is a vital imperative and will remain at the core of our concerns,” he said.
The offensive was launched after Boko Haram jihadists killed nearly 100 troops in March at a base at Bohoma in the west of the vast arid country.
Bohoma is located in the Lake Chad region, which straddles the borders of Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger and has become a haven for jihadists who hole up on islands in its marshes.
The toll was the biggest one-day loss in the history of Chad’s armed forces, and many commentators saw it as a humiliation for a country which prides itself on its military strength in the Sahel.
The counter-attack, named “Wrath of Bohoma,” forced out every jihadist from Chad, Deby claimed afterwards.
However, on Saturday, he acknowledged that Boko Haram “will still do a lot of harm” to Chad in cross-border attacks.
Deby also released 538 prisoners as part of the independence day commemorations.
They include General Abdelkader Baba Ladde, a Chadian rebel who had been active in neighbouring Central African Republic (CAR).
He had been sentenced last December to eight years on charges of illegal possession of weapons, criminal association, rape and arson.
Ladde was arrested in CAR by UN troops in December 2014 and extradited to Chad in January 2015.