Thousands of people demonstrated in the centre of N'Djamena last week in support of President Ngarta Tombalbaye and the National Movement for Cultural and Social Revolution (MNRCS).
Thousands of people demonstrated in the centre of N'Djamena last week in support of President Ngarta Tombalbaye and the National Movement for Cultural and Social Revolution (MNRCS). A party source said most of the population of the city took part in the rally.
President Tombalbaye spoke with the party supporters and received a pledge of loyalty from the rally leaders.
Just five days later, on the morning of Sunday, 13 April, an army coup wrested power from the President. The coup apparently started when a number of troops stormed the Cite du 38 November, a complex of buildings which includes President Tombalbaye's residence. Fighting broke out and barracks belonging to security forces and another building were set alight.
By 11.30 a.m., General Odingar, interim head of the army, announced that the army had taken control. A report on the country's National Radio Broadcasting service said that President Tombalbaye had died of wounds received during the attack.
President Tombalbaye assumed power in 1960 and tried to hold together a country of four million people beset by internal fighting and bloodshed.
There have always been uneasy relations between the proud nomads of the north, a mixture of Arab, Berber and Negro, and the more settled population of the south. There were plots against his leadership and an abortive coup in 1971.
All opposition groups -- most of which are Moslem -- were banned and their leaders live in exile.