French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Wednesday that the French army had intervened against a column of rebels in Chad in the same way it did in Mali in 2013 against the jihadists.
"It was a column of about fifty pick-ups from Libya to take power in N'Djamena by force," he told the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Assembly , having already mentioned the previous day an attempt to "coup" in Chad.
Rebel fighters from the Union of Resistance Forces (UFR) entered Chad at the end of January from Libya, where they were based. At the request of N'Djamena, France carried out three Mirage 2000 strikes against their column. "The destabilization operation in Chad was underway and we responded to President Idriss Déby's (intervention) request and prevented the fifty or so pick-ups of the UFR armed group from entering N'Djamena," he said. he insisted.
"No civilian casualties"
Jean-Yves Le Drian drew parallels with the French intervention in Mali in January 2013, when a column of jihadist groups from the north headed for the capital, Bamako. "It's the same approach (..) made by the president (Dioncounda) Traore in January 2013," noted Jean-Yves Le Drian who was then Minister of Defense of François Hollande.
"There is a written request from a head of state who says: I am threatened by an outside intervention, which is the case, it comes from Libya, it crosses the border, it goes back to Chad. And the will of the actors, who say it publicly, to make a coup d'état, an armed intervention, "he continued.
Asked about the results of the operation, he declined to comment, only stating that there were "no civilian casualties". Clementine Autain, member of France insubordinate (radical left), has denounced for its part a "double standard absolutely edifying" in the French position. "You are helping Idriss Déby who is potentially a victim of a coup and on the other side you support a coup against (Nicolas) Maduro" in Venezuela, she said. "We see it as a dangerous escalation," she said.
The support to the Chadian president "does not prevent us from asking him to make sure to implement the necessary political and economic reforms and in particular to prepare the legislative elections in Chad which should take place before the summer. Replied the head of French diplomacy.