Just In: Chad’s newly re-elected President, Idriss Deby, shot dead while fighting rebels

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Chad’s President Idriss Deby is dead. He was reportedly shot dead while visiting troops on the front line of a fight against northern rebels.

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He was age 68. According to France24, an army spokesman, General Azem Bermandoa Agouna, confirmed his death on state television on Tuesday, April 20, the day after Deby was declared the winner of the sixth term in office.

Deby’s campaign said on Monday that he was headed to the front lines to join troops battling “terrorists”. The Chadian army is currently combating rebel forces who have launched an assault on the capital, N’Djamena.

Mr Déby “breathed his last defending the sovereign nation on the battlefield”, an army general said in a statement read out on state TV. He had gone to the front line at the weekend to visit troops battling rebels based across the border in Libya.

The military council will be led by the late president’s son, Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, 37, a four-star general. The rebels, from a group calling itself Fact (the Front for Change and Concord in Chad), attacked a border post on election day.

They were advancing on the capital, N’Djamena, several hundred kilometres to the south. The clashes with the army began on Saturday. An army general told Reuters news agency that 300 insurgents were killed and 150 captured.

Five government soldiers were killed and 36 were injured, he said. The figures could not immediately be verified. Mr Déby was a long-time ally of France and other Western powers in the battle against jihadist groups in the Sahel region of Africa. However, there has been growing unhappiness over his government’s management of Chad’s oil resources.

Part of text culled from BBC


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