Idriss Deby, Chad’s newly re-elected president, died of injuries sustained on the frontlines while battling rebels in the Sahel country’s north.
General Azem Bermandoa Agouna, the country’s army spokesperson, made the announcement hours after electoral officials declared Deby, 68, the winner of the April 11 presidential election, allowing him to extend his 30-year rule for another six years.
According to his campaign manager, Deby had postponed his victory speech to supporters in order to visit Chadian soldiers fighting rebels.
On election day, the rebel group Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), which is based across the Libyan border, attacked a border post and then advanced hundreds of kilometers south.
In a statement released on state television, General Azem Bermandoa Agouna said:
“Defending the sovereign nation on the frontline, Deby, 68, has just breathed his last”
Deby, who came to power in an uprising in 1990 and is one of Africa’s longest-serving presidents, is unknown why he will visit the region or engage in ongoing conflicts with rebels who resist his rule.
General Mahamat Kaka, the deceased Chadian leader’s son, has been elected interim president.