For the past month, Moussa Faki Mahamat has chaired the African Union Commission, and Hissein Brahim Taha, the former ambassador to Paris, succeeds him as head of Chadian diplomacy. What are its priorities? The new Chadian foreign minister spoke for the first time since taking office. Passing through Paris, between Oslo and Ndjamena, Hissein Brahim Taha answers questions from Christophe Boisbouvier.
RFI: Seven million people are threatened with famine in northeastern Nigeria and the Lake Chad basin. What are you doing for these people in distress?
Hissein Brahim Taha: I come from the Oslo conference and 14 countries have announced immediate aid, $ 672 million to support these refugees and displaced people in the Lake Chad basin.
Indeed, $ 672 million was released. But according to the UN, it would take one and a half billion?
That is true. But there are countries that have not yet announced their contribution, like the United States, like Great Britain.
Were there any special instructions from Donald Trump?
No, I do not think so. The American delegate intervened. This may be because a new administration is taking hold and something is going to be done. In any case, he announced his country’s willingness to do so.
At the origin of this humanitarian drama, there is the chaos provoked by Boko Haram. Its leader, Abubakar Shekau, has just announced that he has killed one of his lieutenants who was plotting against him. Is this a good sign or a bad sign?
It’s always a bad sign when Shekau appears to perorate and talk about his macabre acts. That said, Boko Haram is not like he was two years ago. I think their movement is certainly in crisis.
Another jihadist movement, the Mujao [Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa], which multiplies attacks on the Niger army on the Niger-Mali border. Are you concerned about that?
Yes, it’s really worrying what’s going on. Now the Mujao and the rest are operating south of Mali. That said, the group of the G5 [Group 5 Sahel-Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mauritania and Chad] at the last summit in Bamako, it was adopted that the G5 countries will form mixed forces in the borders, And Burkina Faso, between Niger and Mali, to try to stop these terrorist actions in the region.
« The terrorist threat takes on new proportions, » the Chadian head said recently. Does this mean that jihadists are increasingly strong in the Sahel?
They are present. A few years ago, it was believed that the threat was completely stopped, but we see them acting. See the bombing of Gao, the actions in southern Mali and the action that took place on the border of the Niger, which is rather bloody, it must be said. And I take this microphone to express my condolences to the government and people of Niger. We must all work together, even more, to combat this phenomenon. If they are still there as you say, it is also thanks to the situation in Libya.
To help the Niger army, some 80 men of the French special forces must arrive in the area. But can Barkhane do everything?
The President of the Republic, Idriss Déby, had always said that France can not be left alone to do all the work. Africa must take care of itself. But we must salute the action of France. The fact of sending troops for the moment to the border is an act in the right direction and it is good to have filled that void.
In the Central African Republic, Bambari is under threat from the FPRC [Popular Front for the Rebirth of the Central African Republic] of Noureddine Adam, the former number two of the Seleka. As a result, UN helicopters shell these FPRC columns. Is that the solution or not?
I do not think that is the answer. The solution for us is the dialogue between the Central African brothers.
But what the Central African authorities say is that Noureddine Adam refuses this dialogue for now?
I do not know if he made it clear. If he refuses, he is wrong. The problem for which the United Nations forces have intervened is in the battle between the group of Darassa [Union for Peace in the Central African Republic, the UPC of Ali Darassa] and the group of Noureddine Adam. It is not against Central African forces. These are inter-rebel fights that we deplore. This calls into question the peace in the Central African Republic and peace at our border because it is just on the Chadian border. If they are listening to us at this moment, we are calling them to stop the massacres. Everything must be done around the table.
For several years, the Central African rebel, Noureddine Adam, circulated quite freely between the north of the Central African Republic and Ndjamena. Has your country not been somewhat too understanding about it?
No, we invited when the situation was very serious, when Noureddine Adam was announced in the elections that if the elections take place like this, he will announce the secession of the North, we wanted to put it more with the OIC, Organization of the Islamic Conference, which had requested our intervention. And the President of the Republic has given instructions for Noureddine Adam to come and speak with the OIC. And that’s how a solution was found. And the elections were peaceful. So it was an initiative of the framework for peace in the Central African Republic. Now the Angolans are organizing a dialogue so that all the brothers Central Africans can be together to dialogue.
In Ndjamena on Sunday morning, on February 26, Daniel Ngadjadoum, the deputy director of the opposition Ngarledji Yorongar, was arrested at the end of the Mass and is reportedly on the premises of the National Security Agency. ‘YEARS. So there is a lot of emotion in the opposition?
In all countries, when someone takes action, calls into question peace and security, we can question him. There is no political prison in Chad. It will be listened to. And if he has indeed committed faults, it is for justice to do so. So there is no concern. I think he’s going to be questioned, and if there’s nothing serious, he’s going to be released.