Mao, Chad

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Oasis town of Mao
Oasis town of Mao
Mao is located in Chad
Location in Chad (Kanem highlighted)
Coordinates: 14°07′10″N 015°18′48″E / 14.11944°N 15.31333°E / 14.11944; 15.31333Coordinates: 14°07′10″N 015°18′48″E / 14.11944°N 15.31333°E / 14.11944; 15.31333
Country  Chad
Region Kanem
Department Kanem
Sub-Prefecture Mao
Elevation 1,112 ft (339 m)
Population (2008)
 • Total 19,004
Time zone +1

Mao (Arabic: ماو‎‎) is a city in Chad, the capital of the Kanem Region and of the department also named Kanem. It is the 16th most populous city in Chad, and is located 226 km (140 mi) north-northeast of N'Djamena.

As in other Chadian regions, Mao is ruled by both a traditional Sultan[1] and by central government officials. The Sultan of Kanem, who resides in Mao, is the traditional chief of the Kanembou people.[1] Moves toward decentralisation have been stymied by the complex and sometimes tense relationships between traditional rulers in Chad and national authorities.

On the border of the Sahara, Mao's geography is marked by sand dunes and sparse vegetation.

A large majority of Mao's residents are Muslim. However, there are two Christian churches (one Catholic and one Protestant) in Mao.

The town has a small airport, Mao Airport (IATA: AMOICAO: FTTU), with a paved runway.


On 18 July 2010, the Sultan of Kanem, Alifa Ali Zezerti, died in hospital in N'Djamena aged 83, from complications from a heart attack. He was the 39th ruler of the Kanem dynasty,[2] and had reigned since 1947.[3] He was buried in Mao. His predecessor, Sultan Zezerti, had died on 26 September 1947,[4] having ruled since 1925.[5] His son was elected as Sultan in a by-election without competition.

In October 2013, riots broke out in Mao's main market directed against the administration of Idriss Déby after the shooting dead of a civilian by an officer close to Déby.[6][7]

On 30 September 2015, around 8 pm, a major fire burned through the main market of Mao.[8] The origin could not be determined. No deaths were reported.

On 12 May 2016, at 5 am, a large fire spread throughout the main market of Mao, the second in under two years.[9] The fire started in a nearby fuel depot. No human casualties were reported.


The area is very isolated and travel is difficult (along sand tracks that can only be negotiated using four-by-four vehicles or camels).[1]


On Wednesdays, which is "Grand Market Day", fresh produce is sold such as onion, garlic, dates, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, and sometimes aubergines, which were introduced in 2009 by the FAO. Fruits are also sold, especially bananas, and sometimes mangoes, papayas and guavas. Millet is also available, both white and red types.[10]


Year Population
1993 13,277
2003 17,000
2008 19,004


  1. ^ a b c "République du Tchad - Projet de développement agricole des ouadis du Kanem - (PDAOK) - Rapport d'évaluation intermédiaire". April 2003. pp. A. Area and Context of the Intervention, Target Group. Retrieved 12 March 2017. 
  2. ^ "Tchad : Le Sultan du Kanem s'en est allé". (in French). Retrieved 2017-03-12. 
  3. ^ Waldar. "NECROLOGIE :Le sultan du Kanem ALIFA MAO S'EST ETEINT - WALDARI WA AKHBAARA". WALDARI WA AKHBAARA (in French). Retrieved 2017-03-12. 
  4. ^ Lanne, Bernard (1998-01-01). Histoire politique du Tchad de 1945 à 1958: administration, partis, élections (in French). KARTHALA Editions. p. 119. ISBN 9782865378838. 
  5. ^ Lanne, Bernard (1998-01-01). Histoire politique du Tchad de 1945 à 1958: administration, partis, élections (in French). KARTHALA Editions. p. 103. ISBN 9782865378838. 
  6. ^ " Mao: des jeunes tchadiens incendient la gendarmerie". Retrieved 2017-03-12. 
  7. ^ Administrateur. "Tchad/Émeutes à Mao: les secours accourent vers Mao". (in French). Retrieved 2017-03-12. 
  8. ^ "Tchad : incendie au marché central de Mao". (in French). 2015-10-01. Retrieved 2017-03-12. 
  9. ^ "Un incendie d'origine inconnu ravage le marché de Mao". (in French). 2016-05-12. Retrieved 2017-03-12. 
  10. ^ "Tchad Profond...Mao, la ville sablonneuse.". Regard'ailleurs. Retrieved 2017-03-12.