Chad’s President, Idriss Deby has died of injuries suffered on the frontline in the country’s north, where he had;gone to visit soldiers battling rebels, an army spokesman has announced.
Addressing the nation on state television, General Azem Bermandoa Agouna revealed;that Deby, 68, “has just breathed his last, defending the sovereign nation on the battlefield” over the weekend.
The army said Deby had been commanding his army at the weekend as it battled;against rebels who had launched a major incursion into the north of the country on election day.
General Agouna further announced that a military council led;by;the late President’s 37-year-old son, Mahamat Idriss Deby, a four-star general, would replace him. A curfew has also been;imposed and the country’s borders have been;shut in the wake of the sudden death of the President, he said.
The announcement comes a day after provisional results revealed that President Deby had won a sixth term with 79.3% of the vote in the April 11 presidential election. According to his campaign manager, he postponed his victory speech to supporters, opting to rather visit Chadian soldiers battling rebels.
The rebel group, Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), which is based across the northern frontier with Libya, attacked a border post in the provinces of Tibesti and Kanem on election day and then advanced hundreds of kilometers south.
However, the army has indicated it defeated the group and pushed them back over the weekend. General Agouna earlier told reporters that army troops killed more than 300 rebels and captured 150 on 17th April in Kanem province, about 300 kilometres from the capital, Ndjamena.
He added that five government soldiers were killed with 36 injured.
Peace and Security to the region
Déby was one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders. He was a herder’s son from the Zaghawa ethnic group and first came to power in an armed uprising in 1990.
He won elections in 1996 and again in 2001 before pushing through a constitutional change in 2018 that could allow him to stay in power until 2033.
Prior to the recent elections, Deby had campaigned on a promise of bringing peace and security to the region. He was expected to be declared the winner of the polls amid boycott calls from some opposition leaders.
On election day, rebels however attacked a border post and then advanced towards the capital, Ndjamena. As of yesterday, 19th April, military tanks had still been deployed on the main roads in some areas of the capital, reportedly causing panic amongst residents,
The government, however, assured concerned residents that the offensive was over and the tanks were later withdrawn apart from a perimeter around the President’s office, which is under heavy security even during normal times.
Deby was solidly backed by former colonial power France, which in 2008 and in 2019 used military force to help defeat rebels who tried to oust him. Western countries considered him a reliable figure in the campaign against jihadist insurgents in the Sahel.
Read also: GREDA calls on government to address money laundering within the sector
Leave a Reply