Chad’s longtime President Idriss Deby has died of wounds suffered on the front line in the country’s north, where he had gone to visit soldiers battling rebels, the armed forces said. 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, “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 on Tuesday, a day after Deby was declared the winner of a presidential election. The exact circumstances of Deby’s death were not immediately clear. The army said the president had been commanding his army at the weekend as it battled rebels who had launched a major incursion into the north of the country on election day on April 11. The government and National Assembly have been dissolved and a nationwide curfew imposed from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m. Authorities said a state funeral will be held on Friday. Heads of state and government of “friendly countries” will attend the ceremony in N’Djamena, before Deby is laid to rest in his home region in the country’s far east.
The shock announcement came a day after Deby, who came to power in a rebellion in 1990, won a sixth term. Provisional results released on Monday showed Deby had taken 79.3 percent of the vote. Deby had 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.