Deby ruled Chad for 30 Years before his death in April, 2021.
President Idriss Déby Itno, 68, has died of wounds he received while commanding his army in battles against rebels in the north, government sources have confirmed.
Deby died shortly after being re-elected into office for the 6th term on the 19th of April, 2021. The news of his death came a day after he was declared winner of the country’s presidential election.
Chadian army spokesperson, Général Azem Bemrandoua Agouna, said the military had been pushed back by a column of insurgents who were advancing on the capital, N’Djamena before Derby was wounded.
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.
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. Their stated goal was to rid the country of Déby’s 31 years of power.
Déby had attended the battle on Sunday and Monday (18 and 19 April), where the fighting was taking place in the centre-west of the country, near Nokou in Kanem. Déby was reportedly wounded on the battlefield on Sunday, and was then flown to the capital 400km way by helicopter.
Deby’s son named interim president
After Idriss Deby’s death, the military quickly named President Idriss Deby Itno‘s 37-year-old son, Mahamat Kaka Deby Itno, as the country’s interim leader.
His appointment has attracted reactions from Chadian rebel groups and also from other African states and stakeholders.
The Chadian constitution calls for the National Assembly to step in when a president dies while in office.
“There is a great deal of uncertainty around how events in Chad will unfold: Whether the army will stay loyal to Deby’s son and continue the effort to repel the advancing rebels?” said Cameron Hudson with the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council.
Rebels Oppose Kaka’s Appointment, Vow to Take Over Capital
The rebel group claiming responsibility for his death vowed to continue its fight for the capital.
“Chad is not a monarchy. There can be no dynastic devolution of power in our country,” the rebels said in a statement late Tuesday. “The forces of the Front for Change and Concord are heading toward N’Djaména at this very moment. With confidence, but above all with courage and determination.”
Mahamat is best known as a top commander of the Chadian forces aiding a U.N. peacekeeping mission in northern Mali. The military said Tuesday he now will head an 18-month transitional council following his father’s death.
The military called for calm, instituting a 6 p.m. curfew and closing the country’s land and air borders as panic kept many inside their homes in the capital, N’Djamena.
The United Nations has about 1,800 staffers in Chad and spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in New York that the U.N. was “watching the situation hour by hour.”
A potentially bloody battle for political control of the oil-producing central African nation is anticipated according to locals in the capital city.