Chad President Idriss Deby dies 'in clashes with rebels'

Chad President Idriss Deby dies 'in clashes with rebels'

The latest assault came last Sunday, the same day as the country's presidential election, which the incumbent Idriss Deby Itno - who has ruled the country for 30 years - is expected to win.

The announcement came just hours after electoral officials had declared Deby the victor of the April 11 presidential election.

The military council will be led by the late president's son, Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, 37, a four-star general.

His campaign said Monday that Deby was going to the front line to join army troops battling what he called terrorists.

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

However, the USA embassy in N'Djamena had on Saturday ordered non-essential personnel to leave the country, warning of possible violence in N'Djamena.

General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno will be replacing his father, Idriss Deby Itno, as head of a military council.

Mr Deby, 68, died on Tuesday from injuries sustained while leading the military in a battle against insurgents, the army said.

The Tibesti mountains near the Libyan frontier frequently see fighting between rebels and the army.

There had been panic in some areas of N'Djamena on Monday after tanks were deployed along the city's main roads, an AFP journalist reported.

"In the face of this worrying situation, the people of Chad must show their attachment to peace, to stability, and to national cohesion", Gen. Azem Bermandoa Agouma said.

Despite criticism of his autocratic rule, Western nations consistently looked the other way as Deby's army became a key player in the fight against Boko Haram in the Lake Chad region and against Islamic extremists in the Sahel.

But he has faced repeated insurgencies in the desert north and is also dealing with mounting public discontent over his management of oil wealth and crackdowns on opponents.

But Deby's death could mean tremendous uncertainty for Chad, said Nathaniel Powell, author of a history of French military involvement in Chad.

According to one report, the soldiers were attacked by militants from the Front pour l'Alternance et la Concorde au Tchad (FACT) (Front for Change and Concord in Chad) who had arrived from their base in Libya and had entered Chadian soil on 11 April. The force also has global support from France, the USA and the European Union.

A security analyst, Professor Kwasi Anin has noted that the murder of the President of Chad Idriss Déby may result in political instability in that country and its neighbours.

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