Africa Chad News: President of Chad Idriss Deby ملوك الجدعنة has died while visiting troops on the frontline of a fight against northern rebels, the army said on Tuesday, the day after Deby was declared the winner of a presidential election.
Deby’s son, Mahamat Kaka, was named interim president by a transitional council of military officers, spokesman Azem Bermendao Agouna said in a broadcast on state television.
Deby, 68, came to power in a rebellion in 1990 and was one of Africa’s longest-ruling leaders. He and his army have been seen as a reliable Western ally in a turbulent region afflicted by jihadists.
His campaign said on Monday he was joining troops on the frontline after rebels based across the northern frontier in Libya advanced hundreds of km (miles) south toward the capital N’Djamena. L1N2MC20E
“The National Council of Transition reassures the Chadian people that all measures have been taken to guarantee peace, security and the republican order,” he said.
Deby, whose opponents accused him of repressive rule, pushed through a new constitution in 2018 that would have allowed him to stay in power until 2033 – even as it re-instated term limits.
He was dealing with mounting public discontent over his management of Chad’s oil wealth and crackdowns on opponents.
President Chad Idriss Deby death news
But in the election results announced on Monday, Deby was credited with 79% of the vote, handing him a sixth term in office. Several leading opposition figures boycotted the poll.
Western countries have seen Deby as an ally in the fight against Islamist extremist groups, including Boko Haram in the Lake Chad Basin and groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State in the Sahel.
His death is a blow to France, which had based its Sahel counter-terrorism operations in the Chadian capital, N’Djamena.
Chad had announced in February the deployment of 1,200 troops to complement 5,100 French soldiers in the area. France, the former colonial power, has yet to react officially.
Interesting Facts about Ched
- Déby joined the army in the 1970s when Chad was going through a long-running civil war. He received military training in France and earned a pilot’s licence. He returned to Chad in 1978 and threw his support behind the president, Hissène Habré, eventually becoming commander in chief of the armed forces.
- Recognised as a brilliant military strategist who has been able to survive numerous coup attempts and rebellions, Deby never hesitated to join soldiers on the battlefront in his military fatigues. Last year, he took the title of Field Marshal of Chad.
- Deby seized power in 1990, leading a rebel army swathed in desert headgear in a three-week offensive, launched from neighbouring Sudan’s Darfur region to topple Habre, a man accused of instigating tens of thousands of political murders.
- Western countries have seen Deby as an ally in the fight against Islamist extremist groups, including Boko Haram in the Lake Chad basin and groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State in the Sahel region.
- Source- reuters.com