Idriss Deby is known for visiting the battlefield. After Boko Haram warriors launched a deadly attack on a Chadian army base in Bohoma village in March last year, the longtime president was seen walking on the shores of Lake Chad, next to the army. your.
And it was on the battlefield where the old soldier had met his salvation.
On Tuesday, Chad’s armed forces stunned the whole country by announcing that Deby had died of the wound Take damage while leading soldiers on the front lines against the rebels advancing from the north towards the capital N’Djamena. He’s 68 years old.
Military spokesman Azem Bermandoa Agouna said: “The president of the republic, the head of the supreme army, Idriss Deby Itno, has just breathed his last while protecting the nation’s integrity on the battlefield. , ”Military spokesman Azem Bermandoa Agouna said in a televised statement while surrounded by weary military men.
However, the exact circumstances of Deby’s death are still unclear.
As one of Africa’s longest serving leaders, Deby has run Chad for over 30 years.
Coming from the Zaghawa ethnic group, he grew up in the northeastern part of Ennedi. He joined the army in the early 1970s, at a time when Chad was affected by a protracted civil war, and received further military training in France.
Deby rose to command of the armed forces and eventually took power by leading a revolt in 1990 toppled dictator Hissene Habre, after their relationship broke.
He formally took office the following February and went on to win elections in 1996 and again in 2001 before pushing for a constitutional change in 2018 that could allow him to come to power. year 2033.
“Have you ever seen a head of state take up a weapon and go to battle?” Deby said at an annual press conference in 2018. “You think I’m doing this because I’m brave? Because I’m brave? No, I do it because I love this country and I prefer to die on the battlefield than to let chaos and suffering come down to the country.
Idriss Deby’s death shortened his 30-year political career. He has built a reputation as a staunch ally of the West in the Sahel – despite accusations of authoritarianism. https://t.co/iJd3wHshuV pic.twitter.com/e1H85ReCPK
– Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) April 20, 2021
Deby is seen as the backbone of the international war against armed groups in West and Central Africa and a key ally of Western powers. Under his leadership, the Chadian army became a key force in the region in the fight against groups affiliated with ISIL and al-Qaeda in the western part of the Sahel and Boko Haram in the Lake Chad basin.
Last year, Deby added “Marshal” to her official title.
“Chad has lost a great soldier and a president who has worked tirelessly for the security of the country and the stability of the region for three decades,” the French president said in a statement. adding that France has lost a “brave friend”.
For its part, the White House offered “sincere condolences” to Chadian and said the United States supported “a peaceful process of power transfer in accordance with the Chadian constitution”.
At home, Deby faced the threat of rebel groups trying to overthrow him. Rebels approached the capital in 2006 and 2008 and attacked again in 2019. Presidential forces resisted them, sometimes with French help, as in 2019.
The most recent uprising began on April 11 election day, when Deby sought a controversial sixth term in a vote boycotted by major opposition parties. As the election results began to pour in, members of the Front for Change and Harmony in Chad (FACT), a Libyan-based insurgent group, mostly dissidents, overtook. northern border from Libya and to Chad.
The tension was added value in the weeks and months leading up to the election when Deby was seen as mute opponents through violent crackdowns and even a deadly attack on the home of an opposition politician. In early April, Human Rights Watch said Chad’s security forces had “brutally” suppressed protesters and political opposition ahead of the vote.
Along the way, Deby promised to restore peace and security in a country dominated by violence after years of being attacked by armed groups and rebels breached the border.
“There are those who say that a sixth term is too much; I said they were wrong, ”Deby told supporters at a rally in N’Djamena. “I am confident we will win.”
Indeed, as expected by many, the electoral commission on Monday announced that Deby was re-elected with 79% of the vote.
But Deby was injured over the weekend while visiting the Chadian army on the front lines fighting TRUE several hundred kilometers from N’Djamena, Agouna, military spokesman, said.
The army said his 37-year-old son, General Mahamat Idriss Deby, will lead a transitional military council for 18 months before new elections are held.
Deby left his wife Hinda Deby Itno, whom he married in 2005, and their children, as well as the children of his previous marriage.