PARIS - N'DJAMENA

Chad's Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno to meet President Macron in Paris

Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno in Ndjamena earlier this year.
Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno in Ndjamena earlier this year. © MARCO LONGARI/AFP

The head of Chad's military junta, Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, left N'Djamena on Sunday for a "friendship and working visit" to France, according to a statement from his office.

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The 37-year-old four-star general has led the junta since the announcement in April that his father and veteran leader Idriss Déby Itno had been killed while leading troops against rebels in the north of the country.

Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, president of the Military Transition Council (MTC), "left N'Djaména this morning headed for Paris", his office said in a statement which gave no details of his itinerary while in the French capital.

A member of the Chadian delegation told the French AFP news agency that the general would have dinner with French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday.

France, the former colonial power in Chad, becomes the third country visited by Déby, and the first outside Africa, after trips to Niger and Nigeria.

Elections promised after transition

The MTC has promised "free and transparent" elections after an 18-month transitional period, which could be extended.

France and the African Union have urged that this period should not exceed 18 months.

The Chadian army, along with French troops, is one of the main pillars of the fight against jihadist groups in the Sahel region.

Macron was the only Western head of state to attend the funeral of Idriss Déby Itno and meet his son Mahamat.

Macron recently announced a gradual pullout of French troops from the Sahel in favour of a smaller contingent focussed on anti-terrorism and supporting African armies.

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