By Norman Isaac Mwambazi
Just a day after being declared winner of a highly contested presidential election for the sixth term, Chad President Idriss Deby Itno has died today, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. He was 68. Election results showed that Deby had got 80% of the total votes cast preceded by a campaign in which demonstrations were banned or dispersed.
The Chad national army has announced on state television that Deby, who had ruled the country since 1990, has died on the battlefield commanding his army as it battled against rebels who launched a major attack in the north of the country on election day.
“Deby has just breathed his last breath defending the sovereign nation on the battlefield,” army Spokesman Gen Azem Bermandoa Agouna said in a statement read out on state television.
Deby has reportedly ruled Chad with an iron fist for three decades but was a key ally in the West’s anti-jihadist campaign in the troubled Sahel region. The army said a military council led by the late president’s 37-year-old son Gen Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, would replace him.
On Monday, the army had claimed a “great victory” in its battle against the rebels from neighbouring Libya, saying it had killed 300 fighters, with the loss of five soldiers in its own ranks during eight days of combat.
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