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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: December 2020

3 - The Claustre Affair


This chapter centers on Franco-Chadian relations during the “Claustre Affair,” from 1974-1977. This began when the two rebel leaders of a weakened “2nd Army,” Hissène Habré and Goukouni Weddeye kidnapped several French and German citizens, including Françoise Claustre, the wife of the head of the MRA. This set the stage for a nearly three year-long series of negotiations between French officials, the rebel movement, and the Chadian government. During these negotiations, Habré arrested and later executed one of the French negotiators, Captain Pierre Galopin, and Pierre Claustre, Françoise’s husband, himself became a hostage. The chapter also focuses on the weight of French influence in the Chadian regime’s decision-making processes and the role this played in Franco-Chadian relations over the next few years. It discusses the coup d’état that overthrew Tombalbaye in 1975 and the advent of his successor, the Conseil supérieur militaire (CSM) under General Félix Malloum. Finally, the chapter chronicles the way that France’s negotiation strategy facilitated increased Libyan military and diplomatic involvement with different factions of the Chadian rebellion. Ultimately, this support upset the balance of power within the country and facilitated a return to outright war.

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