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Ibni Oumar Mahamat Saleh, professor at N'Djamena University, abducted by Chad authorities and missing : a brief story.

Version française - See also the French Mathematical Society's documents and actions (in English)
The abduction

On february the 3rd, 2008, Ibni Oumar Mahamat Saleh, PhD (University of Orleans, France), mathematics professor at N'Djamena University, Chad, was abducted from his home in N'Djamena. He was an active member of his university, and had developed its international educational partnerships (with Orléans, Lyon, Avignon, France). He was also the spokesman of the opposition coalition CPDC. In the same late january/early February days, French military support enabled Chad government to repel a rebel attack. This support avoided its fall. Chad authorities took advantage of the disturbances to set about its democratic opposition. He let abduct its three leading people, including Ibni Saleh. France learnt early their abduction and very likely intervened on their behalf, but did not imposed their immediate release, at the moment when Chad government's survival was in its hands.
From this time, Chad as well as French authorities remain mute on this issue, inspit of the involvment of Chad opposition, Saleh's family, of the mathematic community throughout the world, and of Amnesty International USA. Both other abducted men have been freed, after ill treatments; one of them had to leave Chad. No one piece of news from Ibni Saleh. French President obtained from his Chad counterpart the involvment of an international inquiry commission on the disturbances of those days.

The conclusions of the inquiry Commission, released August 5th, 2008, public since 09/03/2008, online 09/11/2008.

The conclusions (or here, or exerpts on the abductions) of this Commission is overwhelming for Chad government, and impute to it, with concrete proof, numerous human rights violations, summary executions etc. on the abductions, including Ibni Saleh's one, the Commission asserts that "it could not bring perfect evidence"i.e. juridically irrefutable evidence"for the implication of Chad authorities", but that it has gathered a "a body of facts implying grave suspicion (faisceau de présomptions graves)", based on meticulously built evidence. The Commission "proves that [the abductions] are a concerted and organised action of the Chad National Army" and that "it is impossible that this action results from the personal initiative of some subordinate serviceman, havong received no order from his hierarchy or from the State's top authorities". "As a consequence", explicitly, it "asks the question of the involvment of the Head of State in the chain of command", with one page of items in support of the question. On Ibni's case, the Commission reckons as "allowed to think that he could be now dead", "after ill treatment [or] by political assassination". It could not bring irrefutable evidence for this and asserts that "such a proof will very likely be impossible to find without the will of the State's top authorities".

Ibni Saleh was abducted on order of the authorities, he died in jail. Here is the truth that Chad president Idriss Déby does not tell. Refusing to officially acknowledge this death, he steals him once again from his relatives.
As the French mathematician Maurice Audin, will Ibni Oumar Mahamat Saleh remain "missing" ?

A few more general words about Chad

The Commision's conclusions indicates also that "secret detention places" exist in Chad and that "prisoners rot heren out of any judicial control". So Ibni Oumar Mahamat Saleh's abduction reveals a habit of which many other peaple in Chad are victim. Ibni Saleh's case has been internationaly known in particular because he had been maintaining international links as a mathematics professor. Unfortunately, this did not help to avoid the worst.
More generally, Amnesty International UK reminds that Ibni Saleh's case is typical of the Human Rights violations in Chad, where numerous arbitrary acts of violence are commited or permitted by the authorities, with total impunity. It is to be noiced that no one of the crimes perpetrated during the more troubled days of end January/early February 2008 has been prosecuted.

A few other links

Ibni Oumar Mahamat Saleh'abduction, February 3rd., his nearly certain death, Setpember 8th. One of the three abducted politicians, Ngarlegy Yorongar, has been freed and had to leave Chad then, he gave an account of his detention. Recently, he gave more details on the three abductions and on the location of the prison where Ibni and him were put, in N'Djamena. The third abduction is that of a former Chad president.

Two actions engaged

  • The French Mathematical Society (SMF), the Society for Applied and Industrial Mathematics (SMAI), and the French Society for Statistics (SFdS) had initiated in March 2008 a petition (3200 signatures on Feb. 2nd 2009) to the Chad and French presidents, to demand the truth. They also invited each one to write them by hard mail (French).
  • The SMF, the SMAI and the SFdS are going to create an Ibni Oumar Mahamat Saleh prize, each year awarded an African young mathematician, "so that [Ibni Saleh's] memory remains living, and to give his action in favour of African mathematics a posterity".

    Archives :

  • Invitation to demand the truth about Ibni Mahamat Saleh, by wrtiting to the Chad and French presidents.
  • Letters sent to the Chad president in Sept. 2008.
    Last update of the history : February 2nd. 2009.