Chad’s newly re-elected President Idriss Deby has died of injuries suffered on the frontline while fighting rebels in the north of the Sahel country.
The country’s army spokesperson, General Azem Bermandoa Agouna made the announcement hours after electoral officials declared 68-year-old Deby as winner of the April 11 presidential election, paving the way for him to stay in power for six more years after a 30-year rule.
Deby had 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 had attacked a border post on election day and then advanced hundreds of kilometres south.
General Azem Bermandoa Agouna said in a statement read out on state television;
“Deby, 68 has just breathed his last defending the sovereign nation on the battlefield”
It is not known why the president would have visited the area or participated in ongoing clashes with the rebels who opposed his rule. Deby came to power in a rebellion in 1990 and is one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders.
General Mahamat Kaka, the son of the deceased Chadian leader, has been named interim head of the state.