Army spokesman Azem Bermendao Agouna told state TV said Deby — a longtime Western ally in efforts to quell Islamist militias in north Africa — died “as a result of his injuries on the front line.” Reuters said Deby had been visiting troops fighting rebels in the north of the country.
The announcement came a day after it was announced that Deby, who had been in power for 30 years, was projected to win a sixth consecutive term in elections held earlier this month.
Rebels, who have been seeking to oust Deby since 2016, had claimed a number of victories in the past week and clashes were reported in the north of the country at the weekend.
Rebels of the Front for Change and Concord in Chad — known in French as Front Pour l’Alternance et La Concorde au Tchad (FACT) — said Friday it had overrun a military garrison in Gouri. The claim was denied by the government, which instead said the rebels had been defeated.
On Monday FACT said that Deby was injured and on the run.
“Faithful to the oath made to the nation and the Chadian people, the Marshal of Chad, President of the Republic, Head of State, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, Idriss Déby Itno, has just breathed his last defending the sovereign nation on the battlefield,” Agouna said in his statement. “It is with deep bitterness that we announce to the Chadian people the death this Tuesday, April 20, 2021, of Chadian Marshal Idriss Déby Itno as a result of his injuries on the frontline,” he said.
Agouna said a transitional military council would take charge of the country for 18 months “to assure the defense of our dear country facing this war against terrorism and evil forces”.
Deby’s son, General Mahamat Kaka, will serve as president of the transitional council, according to Agouna. Analysts questioned whether the move was constitutional.
Agouna promised there would be “free, democratic and transparent elections following the spirit of sacrifice for which the marshal fought during his life.”
The army declared a 14-day period of national mourning and imposed an overnight curfew. Air and land borders would close until further notice.
Chad worked closely with Nigeria and Cameroon in the fight against militant group Boko Haram and formed part of a joint taskforce fighting insurgents in the region.
Chad borders Libya, Darfur region of Sudan, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and the Central African Republic and there are fears Deby’s death threatens the stability of the region. FACT claims it is in control of the Tibesti region of Chad.
Reuters reported that FACT, which is based across the northern border with Libya, had advanced hundreds of kilometres south towards the capital, N’Djamena, in the days after the April 11 election. But the Chadian military appeared to have slowed its advance about 300 km (185 miles) from N’Djamena, Reuters said.
The US Embassy in Chad directed US employees to “shelter in place” after to the death of Deby, citing the “potential for unrest.” It urged US citizens to…
Go to the news source: Idriss Deby, Chad’s President, killed in frontline clashes with rebels, state TV…