Chad plans to double army size to deal with security challenges


N'DJAMENA (Reuters) - Chad's transitional government said on Friday that it plans to drastically increase the size of its army to deal with security challenges, including threats from Islamist militants and armed rebels.

Defence Minister General Daoud Yaya Brahim told parliament that the army has begun the process of increasing the total number of troops to 60,000 by the end of 2022, from 35,000 currently.

"We have already started the process with the recruitment and training of soldiers and non-commissioned officers. The objective is to build elite unites capable of adapting to the asymmetric warfare our Sahel countries are facing," Brahim said.

Chad, alongside neighbours Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger, as well as Sahel nations Mali and Burkina Faso, are battling Islamic militants linked to al Qaeda and the Islamic State.

The Chadian army is also fighting rebels in the north of the country. Former President Idriss Deby was killed in April while visiting troops on the frontline fighting the Libya-based rebels.

Brahim told parliament that the army would be seeking more funding in the next budget for defence spending.

(Reporting by Mahamat Ramadane; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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