Thousands of Chadians attended the state funeral of long-serving President Idriss Déby yesterday after he was killed earlier this week during a clash with rebels.
Among the foreign leaders there was France’s President Emmanuel Macron, for whom Chad is a key ally in the fight against jihadists in the region.
He addressed his words to the casket, saying “You lived as a soldier, you died as a soldier with weapons in hand.
“You gave your life for Chad in defence of its citizens.”
He told attendees at N’Djamena packed main square, La Place de la Nation: “We will not let anybody put into question or threaten today or tomorrow Chad’s stability and territorial integrity.”
The ceremony also saw a military march-past and a speech by Déby’s son, Gen Mahamat “Kaka” Déby Itno, who the army has named as the country’s new leader.
He vowed to “stay loyal to the memory” of his father and pledged to continue the legacy of “dialogue, forgiveness, peace, unity” that the late president was “admired for”.
The army said President Déby died in a battle with a dissident army rebel group called Fact, in the country’s north on Tuesday.
Other visiting heads of state at Friday’s ceremony included the leaders of Guinea, Mali, Mauritania and Nigeria, who all ignored warnings from the rebels that they should not attend for security reasons.
After the military honours and speeches, prayers were said at the Grand Mosque of N’Djamena. (BBC).