Chad’s President Idriss Deby has died of injuries suffered on the frontline in the Sahel country’s north, where he had gone to visit soldiers battling rebels, an army spokesman said on Tuesday.
Deby, 68, “has just breathed his last defending the sovereign nation on the battlefield” over the weekend, army spokesman General Azem Bermandoa Agouna said in a statement read out on state television.
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.
The army said 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 been imposed and the country’s borders have been shut in the wake of the sudden death of the president, army said.
The shock announcement came a day after Deby, who came to power in a rebellion in 1990, won a sixth term, as per provisional results released on Monday. Deby took 79.3 percent of the vote in the April 11 presidential election, the results showed.
Deby postponed his victory speech to supporters and instead went to visit Chadian soldiers battling rebels, according to his campaign manager.
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 kilometres south.
But it suffered a setback over the weekend.
Chad’s military spokesman Agouna told the Reuters news agency that army troops killed more than 300 fighters and captured 150 on Saturday in Kanem province, around 300 kilometres (185 miles) from the capital Ndjamena.
Five government soldiers were killed and 36 were injured, he said. Here