The Toubou (Old Tebu: "Rock People;" also written Tibu, Tibbu, Tebu, Tubu, Tebou, Umbararo) are an ethnic group that live mainly in northern Chad, but also in Libya, Niger and Sudan.
The majority of Toubou live in the north of Chad around the Tibesti mountains (Old Tebu: "Rocky Mountains," whence the Toubou's own name.) Numbering roughly 350,000, they are Muslim. Most Toubou are herders and nomads, though many are now semi-nomadic. Their society is clan-based, with each clan having certain oases, pastures and wells. They are divided in two closely-associated people, the Teda and the Daza.
Many of Chad's leaders have been Toubou, including Presidents Goukouni Oueddei, Hissène Habré and Idriss Deby.
Toubou life centers on their livestock (their major source of wealth and sustenance) and on the scattered oases where they or their herders cultivate dates and grain. In a few places, the Toubou (or more often members of the Haddad group who work for them) also mine salt and natron, a salt like substance used for medicinal purposes and for livestock.
During the civil conflict in Chad (1966–1993), the derde came to occupy a more important position. In 1965 the Chadian government assumed direct authority over the Tibesti Mountains, sending a military garrison and administrators to Bardaï, the capital of Tibesti Subprefecture. Within a year, abuses of authority had roused considerable opposition among the Toubou. The derde, Oueddei Kichidemi, recognized but little respected up to that time, protested the excesses, went into exile in Libya, and, with the support of Toubou students at the Islamic University of Al Bayda, became a symbol of opposition to the Chadian government. This role enhanced the position of the derde among the Toubou. After 1967 the derde hoped to rally the Toubou to the National Liberation Front of Chad (FROLINAT). Moral authority became military authority shortly thereafter when his son, Goukouni Oueddei, became one of the leaders of the Second Liberation Army of FROLINAT. Goukouni was to become a national figure; he played an important role in the battles of N'Djamena in 1979 and 1980 and served as head of state for a time. Another northerner, Hissène Habré of the Daza Anakaza, replaced Goukouni in 1982, and lost eventually power to Idriss Dédy, a Zaghawa.
The Toubou are subdivided in two separate people, the Teda and Daza. They are believed to share a common origin, but speak now two distinct if clearly associated languages, Tedaga (Téda Toubou) and Dazaga (Daza Toubou). Of the two the Daza are the numerous, being 312,000 persons, while the Teda are only 42,000.