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Chad’s Habre buried in Dakar cemetery

The former Chadian president has been buried in the Muslim cemetery in Dakar, Senegal.By Oumar Dembele Two days after his…

The former Chadian president has been buried in the Muslim cemetery in Dakar, Senegal.By Oumar Dembele

Two days after his death from Covid-19 at the age of 79, Habre was interred in a cemetery in Yoff, a district of the Senegalese capital.

A controversy over his rule in Chad and his incarceration in Senegal still remains. 

The Chadian government did not oppose his repatriation, but one of his widows, Fatime Raymonne Habre said her husband should be buried “on Senegalese soil, a land of Islam.”

Funeral prayers were held at the Omar Mosque in Dakar, a few kilometers from the Yoff cemetery, where former Cameroonian President Ahmadou Ahidjo was buried in 1989.

His wife Germaine Ahidjo, who died last April was also buried there.

Hissene Habre ruled Chad from 1982 to 1990 before being overthrown by his former lieutenant Idriss Deby Itno. 

For more than two decades, the former warlord led a quiet and peaceful life in Ouakam, a residential area west of the Senegalese capital. 

But in May 2016, his exile turned into a nightmare after he was tried and sentenced to life imprisonment by the Extraordinary African Chambers of the African Union (AU) for crimes against humanity during his rule. 

This verdict was upheld on appeal by the Assize Chamber presided over by the Malian magistrate Wafi Ougadeye on April 27, 2017

Until his death, Hissene Habre was serving his sentence in the Cap Manuel prison in Dakar. 

He had benefited on March 7, 2020 from a house arrest for a period of 60 days because of the coronavirus pandemic.

This measure by the Senegalese Ministry of Justice was intended to protect him from the coronavirus which eventually took his life. 

His wife and human rights organizations continued to plead for his release given his failing health and his particularly vulnerable advanced age.

In the local press, Justice Minister Malick Sall said that Hissene Habre was not infected in prison but “at the clinic” where he was admitted. 

Moreover, “Senegal has done everything to put Habre and his family at ease,” he added.

Having led a “life in the open Sahel,” this “fierce fighter swept away by Covid-19 is not finished with the battles, according to the local daily newspaper ‘Le Quotidien.’ 

“The compensation of his victims” remains “the other battle” that he leaves behind, the newspaper points out. 

He was ordered to pay more than 82 billion CFA francs to the 7,396 victims officially listed.

In addition, Assane Dioma Ndiaye of Senegal, one of the victims’ lawyers, said Thursday in the national daily ‘Le Soleil’ that “Habre’s disappearance will have no impact on the effectiveness of any reparation.

“If reparations are not made, this trial will look like an unfinished business. It would prove that Africa is not capable of organizing its own trials to judge one of its own. So, there is another issue at stake in this trial,” Mr. Ndiaye added.

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