One of Africa’s long-serving President’s, Idriss Débyhas died of gun-shot wounds a day after he was re-elected for another six-year term President of Chad.
Deby who came into power in 1990 is reported to have died of wounds he received while commanding his army in battles against rebels in the northern parts of Chad.
After news had come in that Chad’s veteran president, Idriss Déby had won a sixth term, by 79.3%, in the latest provisional results in on Monday.
Déby, was expected to give a victory speech after receiving the provisional results, but opted instead to visit Chadian soldiers on the front lines, said his campaign director Mahamat Zen Bada.
The stunning announcement of his death came just hours after electoral officials had declared Deby as the winner of the April 11 presidential elections.
The circumstances of Deby’s death could not immediately be independently confirmed due to the remote location of the battlefield. It was not known why the president would have visited the frontlines in northern Chad or participated in ongoing clashes with the rebels who opposed his rule.
Deby, a former army commander-in-chief first came to power in 1990 when his rebel forces overthrew then-President Hissene Habre, who was later convicted of human rights abuses at an international tribunal in Senegal.
Over the years Deby had survived numerous armed rebellions and managed to stay in power until this latest insurgency led by a group calling itself the Front for Change and Concord in Chad.
The rebels are believed to have armed and trained in neighboring Libya before crossing into northern Chad on April 11. Their arrival came on the same day that Chad’s president sought a sixth term on election day, which several top opposition candidates boycotted.
Deby’s regime has waged battle against persistent insurgencies for years, and opposition parities have boycotted previous elections. His state security forces have been accused by international rights group Amnesty International of carrying out “a regime of murder, torture and enforced disappearance of suspected government opponents.
New head of state
For now, the constitution has been suspended. A military council will take over in the interim, under the leadership of General Mahamat Kaka, otherwise known as Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, the son of Idriss.
This temporary government should remain in place for 18 months.
His son has been a general in the Chadian army and for many years headed the Direction Générale des Services de Sécurité des Institutions de l’État (DGSSIE) [General Directorate of Security Services for State Institutions], which includes the presidential guard.
His new role as President of the Transitional Council will make the 37 year-old Mahamat the youngest head of state on the continent.