Chad’s President Idriss Déby died from injuries sustained in combat, reports the African country’s Army. His son, general Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, has been appointed as interim president.
The army said they had repelled an attack by insurgents on the capital N’djamena on Monday. Déby would initially make a speech claiming election victory, but first went to the front line to support soldiers and fight in the north of the country against “terrorists who threaten our territory.”
It concerns the rebel group ‘Fact’, which operates from neighbouring Libya and has been advancing south in recent weeks. The US had called on non-essential diplomatic staff to leave the country on Saturday.
On Monday, preliminary election results showed that 68-year-old Déby can start a sixth term as head of State. The elections were boycotted by the main opposition leaders.
Idriss Déby came to power in 1990. Western countries saw him as support in the fight against Islamic extremists such as Boko Haram, IS and al-Qaeda. The Armed Forces take power with a military council led by his 37-year-old son, a four-star general called Mahamat Kaka.
The army immediately imposed a curfew and closed the borders. The government and parliament have been dissolved. The Armed Forces promise “free and democratic” elections after a transitional period of 18 months.