Home Business News Leader Chad Idriss Deby, a Western ally against the militants, was killed...

Leader Chad Idriss Deby, a Western ally against the militants, was killed in battle, his son took the helm with military officers.


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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: President Chad Idriss Deby at G5 Sahel summit in Nouakchott, Mauritania

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By Mahamat Ramadane

N’DJAMENA (Reuters) – President ofhad Idriss Deby, who ruled his country for more than 30 years and was a key ally of the West in the fight against Islamic militants in Africa, was Kill right on the front lines in the battle against rebels in the north.

Spokesperson Azem Bermendao Agouna, Deby’s son Mahamat Kaka, was elected interim president by a transitional panel of military officers.

Deby, 68, took power in an uprising in 1990 and is one of Africa’s longest ruling leaders, surviving numerous coups and rebellions.

His death could deepen the problems of Chad and those of his allies.

On the domestic front, the military was divided and the opposition bridged against years of repressive rule.

On the international level, France and the United States will hope that their counterterrorism efforts are not being pushed back.

He was killed shortly after he was declared a presidential election winner who would give him a sixth term in office. Much of the opposition boycotted the vote.

Deby – who regularly joined soldiers on the front in his military fatigues – visited soldiers on the front lines on Monday after rebels based on the northern border in Libya advanced hundreds of kilometers (miles) away. ) south towards the capital N’Djamena. [L1N2MC20E]

“Marshal Idriss Deby Itno, as he did when the institutions of the republic were seriously threatened, controlled operations in the heroic war against terrorists from Libya,” Bermendao said. .

The government and Congress were disbanded and a nationwide curfew was imposed from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m.

“The National Transition Council reassured the Chadian people that all measures were taken to ensure the peace, security and order of the republic,” Bermendao said.

Deby pushed through a new constitution in 2018 that would allow him to stay in power until 2033. He took over as Marshal last year and said ahead of last week’s election: “I knew in advance that I would win, like I did for the past 30 years. ”

He is dealing with growing public discontent over Chad’s oil wealth management and crackdowns on rivals. In the election results released on Monday, Deby won 79% of the vote.

A Reuters reporter in N’Djamena said people were in panic when news of his death spread, fearing that fighting might break out in the city. Many people have fled to suburbs and the roads are congested in traffic.

UNCERTAINTY

Western countries see Deby as allies in the fight against Islamic militant groups, including Boko Haram in Lake Chad Basin and groups associated with al Qaeda and the Islamic State in the Sahel.

The former colonial power, France, set up headquarters for anti-Saharan operations in N’Djamena. In February, Chad announced the deployment of 1,200 troops to supplement the 5,100 French troops in the area.

According to Nathaniel Powell, author of a history of the French military involvement in Chad.

“The rapid announcement of the creation of a military council and the appointment of his son Mahamat as head of state demonstrates the regime’s continuity,” Powell told Reuters.

“This is probably intended to counter any attempted coup from within the security facility and to reassure Chad’s international partners – especially France and the United States – that they can still believe credit to the country for its continued contributions to the international counterterrorism efforts in the Sahel. “

The latest rebel actions have sparked warnings in Washington and other Western capitals.

Front rebels groups for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), which is based on the northern border with Libya, attacked a post on the day of election and then advanced hundreds of kilometers (miles) away. south through vast country.

But Chad’s army seems to have slowed its advance about 300 km (185 miles) from N’Djamena.

Monday’s rebels admitted they took losses on Saturday but said they were back into action on Sunday and Monday.

LOVE THE FRONTLINE

Déby joined the army in the 1970s when Chad engaged in a protracted civil war. He received military training in France and returned to Chad in 1978, supported President Hissène Habré and eventually became commander in chief of the armed forces.

He took power in 1990, leading a rebel army in a three-week assault organized from neighboring Sudan to overthrow Habre, a man allegedly inciting tens of thousands of murders. politic.

A senior diplomat in the region told Reuters: “From his sources we understand that he is really on or near the front lines. He likes to walk on the front lines.”

But naming his son as interim president was problematic because the speaker of parliament should have taken power over his death, the diplomat said.

“It’s a coup in itself,” he said. “He groomed his son for a while. They will continue to face rebellion. Deby was involved in many things in the Sahel. His death broke everything.”



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