Son of Chad president found dead in France

Chadian President Idriss Déby Itno’s son, Brahim, touted as a possible successor, was found dead on Monday morning in the underground parking lot of a building he lived in near Paris, police and court officials said.

Brahim Déby was seen as his father’s choice of successor but was widely disliked, even by some of his own family, who viewed him as unfit to govern, causing a split within the ruling clan.

The president sacked Brahim as his adviser in June 2006 after the then 27-year-old was arrested in a Paris discotheque for possessing an illegal firearm and drugs. He was given a six-month suspended sentence by a French court.

Investigators at the scene in Courbevoie, west of Paris, found a wound on his head but have not yet determined the cause of death, a spokesperson for the public prosecutor’s office in the western suburb of Nanterre said.

”The body was found by the caretaker of his residence at about 7am [local time] in the area between the stairs and the underground parking lot. The time of death is unknown,” the spokesperson said.

An autopsy is due to be carried out by Tuesday.

A coalition of rebel forces have been fighting a hit-and-run guerrilla war against Déby’s forces in eastern Chad, saying he was fraudulently elected and demanding the holding of free democratic elections to end his clan-based rule.

Makaila Nguebla, a Dakar-based spokesperson for the rebel Union of Forces for Democracy and Development (UFDD), said Brahim Déby had been a key source of resentment, who drove members of the president’s administration to turn against him.

”He is at the root of all the frustration. He used to slap government ministers, senior Chadian officials were humiliated by Déby’s son,” Nguebla told Reuters.

”They had to leave the regime, go into the bush. They chose the military option instead of being humiliated inside Chad.”

Nguebla said he believed Brahim’s death would be a serious blow to his father’s morale, particularly after one of his close nephews, the chief of Chad’s armed forces, was killed in a clash with rebels last year.

”He was seen as a replacement for his father because [Idriss] Déby was often ill. If Déby had to be replaced it could only be him … the morale of the family is completely destabilised,” Nguebla said. — Reuters

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