The president of Déby Chad was killed in the front row
President Idriss Déby Itno, Chad’s strong leader and one of the strongest allies in the West jihadism in the Sahel, was killed while visiting troops at the front, an army spokesman said.
The president was commanding troops fighting a rebel attack on the capital N’Djamena, which was wounded, a spokesman said on state television.
Provisional news showed that within hours Déby, one of Africa’s longest-serving rulers, had extended his 30-year tenure by winning his sixth term in the elections earlier this month. His death will have major implications for the impoverished and impoverished Central African country, but also for the entire region, where Chad as well as fighting jihadist groups operating throughout Boko Haram and the Sahel.
“Idriss Déby Itno has just taken her last breath on the battlefield to defend the sovereign nation,” General Azem Bermandoa Agouna said on state television, accompanied by fellow soldiers.
The whereabouts of Déby’s death were not yet known, and it was not clear why the president would be close enough to the ongoing war to strike and kill him. The army has said that Déby’s son has been appointed interim head of state by General Mahamat Kaka.
Chad has made high-capacity military and central locations an important ally of Western powers fighting in extreme Africa and has isolated Déby from criticism of serious human rights violations and democratic degradation. The US took Déby as one of its most important allies against the 11-year-old Boko Haram uprising in the basin of Lake Chad where Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad meet.
For France, ties are even closer. Paris maintains great influence in all former colonies, and is at the forefront of an extreme struggle that has resulted in thousands of deaths and millions of displacements throughout the Sahel. France’s 5,000-strong counter-terrorism force in the Sahel, Operation Barkhane, is based in N’Djamenan.
Convictions of rebels marching across the Sahara desert in recent weeks have threatened Déby’s grip on power. Some insurgents crossed the border from Libya on election day. The Chadian army, one of the strongest in all of Africa, was believed to have repulsed the rebels.
Déby’s campaign said on Monday that he had delayed his victory speech and instead moved to the front line to lead his troops in the fight against the Chad Change and Concord Front (FACT) rebels, the government said they were “terrorists” in neighboring Libya.
Two years ago, Paris diverted Mirage fighter jets from Operation Barkhane to attack a column similar to the 40 trucks carrying armed rebels operating from neighboring Libya, criticizing them for intervening in internal problems to protect Déby.