An army nurse at a French military base in northern Chad shot dead a Chadian soldier who had attacked him, triggering protests by local people, the region’s governor told AFP on Wednesday.
The incident occurred on Tuesday in the base of Faya-Largeau, where troops are deployed under France’s strategy of fighting jihadists in West Africa’s Sahel.
“A Chadian soldier who was not in a normal state went to the French army base to get bandaged, picked up a scalpel and wounded a French military nurse,” General Ali Maide Kebir, the governor of Borkou region, told AFP.
“The nurse used his firearm and killed him,” he said.
“After hearing of the soldier’s death, the people of Faya demonstrated all day long outside the entrance to the base and tried unsuccessfully to get inside,” Maide Kebir said.
“The crowd dispersed at nightfall,” he said, describing the attack on the nurse as an “isolated incident.”
France is struggling with a wave of discontent among its former African colonies, where coups in Mali and Burkina Faso have prompted it to pull its forces out of those countries.
It is also under pressure to quit Niger, whose pro-French elected president, Mohamed Bazoum, was toppled in July.
A senior officer with French forces based in the Chadian capital N’Djamena gave further details of the incident.
“During medical consultations (at the base) which were open to the public, a Chadian soldier who was being treated attacked a French nurse with a scalpel,” the officer said.
“He had to make use of his weapon… to defend himself.”
“We don’t know the reasons for the attack. The nurse received three scalpel blows to the throat, head and neck but his condition has stabilised.”
France has had a garrison at Faya-Largeau for 40 years. Its present complement is 40 soldiers, the source said.
The French and Chadian military have launched a joint inquiry, Maide Kebir said.