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Chad President Idriss Deby dies on front lines, says army spokesman

Tuesday April 20, 2021

Nairobi (HOL) - Chad's President Idriss Deby has died while visiting troops on the front line of a fight against northern rebels, an army spokesman said on Tuesday. Deby died a day after he declared the winner of a sixth term in office. He was 68.

Chad's military said on Monday that he was headed to the front lines to join troops battling "terrorists."

Western countries have worked closely with Deby in the fight against Islamist militant groups, including Boko Haram in the Lake Chad basin and Al-Qaeda-linked militants in the Sahel.

The rebel group Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), based across the northern frontier in Libya, attacked a border post on election day and then advanced hundreds of kilometres south across the desert.

Deby was known to visit his soldiers on the front lines. He skipped an inauguration ceremony in the capital Ndjamena to see troops when he was killed by rebels.

The announcement barely a day after he was declared the winner on April 11. It was his sixth electoral victory since coming to power to a coup in 1990.

Deby's son, General Mahamat Kaka, was named interim president by a transitional military council for eighteen months and promised elections after the transition period. At just 37-year-old, Mahamat has become Africa's Youngest Head of State.

The military council dissolved Chad's government and National Assembly.

Deby, 68, came to power in a rebellion in 1990 and is one of Africa's longest-serving leaders.

With files from Reuters/Agencies


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