Git submodule add: "a git directory is found locally" issue


I'm actually trying to learn how to use git, including the git submodule subcommands. I already set up a server on which I can host, push and pull git repositories by using SSH. I created a main git repository "Travail" on this server in which I would like to put all my projects as submodules.

In my Travail repository, I already added a project of mine as a submodule at tools/libft: I'm able to develop this submodule, to push and to pull it.

But when I try to add another submodule (named fdf, from fdf.git on my server), I get the following issue :

git submodule add ssh://XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX:XXXXX/opt/git/fdf.git projets/fdf

A git directory for 'projets/fdf' is found locally with remote(s): origin ssh://[email protected]:XXXXX/opt/git/fdf.git If you want to reuse this local git directory instead of cloning again from ssh://XXX.XXX.XXX.XXX:XXXXX/opt/git/fdf.git use the '--force' option. If the local git directory is not the correct repo or you are unsure what this means choose another name with the '--name' option.

There is actually no subdirectory in projets/

I read on another thread that I should use git submodule sync or edit the .gitmodules file in which the URL to my submodule's origin repository could have changed.

But my .gitmodules file only contains the information about my first submodule (tools/libft), not about projets/fdf :

[submodule "tools/libft"]
    path = tools/libft
    url = ssh://[email protected]:XXXXX/opt/git/libft.git

As a French student I could have missed something in the English documentation I have, but I searched and I really don't understand why I get this issue.

I would be glad if I would get a solution but just an explanation would be helpful too.


I came to this SO post trying to add a submodule with the same path as a submodule that I recently deleted.

This is what ultimately worked for me (this article helped out a lot):

If you haven't already run
git rm --cached path_to_submodule (no trailing slash) as well as
rm -rf path_to_submodule


  1. Delete the relevant lines from the .gitmodules file. e.g. delete these:
[submodule "path_to_submodule"]
        path = path_to_submodule
        url =
  1. Delete the relevant section from .git/config. e.g. delete these:
[submodule "path_to_submodule"]
        url =
  1. rm -rf .git/modules/path_to_submodule

Then, you can finally:

git submodule add

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