Former Chadian President Hissene Habre, who died this week while serving a life sentence for war crimes, was buried on Thursday in Senegal following a low-key ceremony in the parking lot of a half-finished mosque filled with construction equipment.
Habre ruled Chad from 1982 to 1990, during which his political police tortured, killed and raped tens of thousands of suspected enemies, often on Habre’s orders.
The former strongman initially received backing from France and the United States but that stopped as support at home drained away. He was ousted in a coup and fled to Senegal, rich with money from his central African homeland. He bought a large house in a wealthy neighbourhood of the capital Dakar.
Former Chad President Hissene Habre makes declarations to media as he leaves a court in Dakar, Senegal November 25, 2005. REUTERS/Aliou Mbaye
Habre was arrested in 2013 after a long campaign by victims and rights groups and was sentenced to life in prison in 2016.
He died on Tuesday at age 79 after contracting COVID-19. About 200 people attended the funeral, many of them sporting the traditional robes and headscarves of Chad.
The coffin, draped in a black and gold sheet, was rolled from the back of an ambulance before an imam prayed. There was little sign of emotion as street kids looked on, surrounded by copper construction rods and cinder blocks.
Fifteen minutes later the coffin was put back in the ambulance and driven away for a private burial.