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Daily Briefing: Chadian President Idriss Déby Dies Following Assault from Insurgents

An official report has confirmed that newly re-elected incumbent Idriss Déby has died from injuries sustained in an attack by militants named Front for Change and Concord.

The Chadian army said on April 18, 2021 that they were pressing ahead, as a result of warning from the American and British embassies of a possible assault on the capital N’Djamena, ordering their citizens to leave. The forces earlier said it had halted an advance by forces opposed to the government that were approaching from bordering Libya.

Idriss Deby’s 37-year-old son, Mahamat Kaka, was named interim president by a transitional council of military officers, spokesman Azem Bermendao Agouna said in a broadcast on state television.

Deby, a career military officer who seized power in 1990 in a coup, was promoted to the rank of Field Marshal last August. He first came to power in 1990 when his rebel forces overthrew then-President Hissene Habre, who was later convicted of human rights abuses at an international tribunal in Senegal.

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He was re-elected for a six-year term with 79.32% of the votes cast, according to provisional results announced on Monday evening by the national electoral body. A series of stunning announcements has came just hours after the 68-year-old Deby had been declared winner of an election that would have given him another six years in power.

On Monday, Ministers and top government officers said, the head of state had visited the frontline between his army and a column of rebels who had launched an offensive from rear bases in Libya on election day, April 11.

“Chad is not a monarchy. There can be no dynastic devolution of power in our country,” the militants said in a statement late Tuesday, vowing to press their fight for N’Djamena. The Chadians were one of several foreign mercenary groups fighting under the Libyan commander, Khalifa Hifter, when he launched a campaign to seize the Libyan capital, Tripoli, in 2019.

Political analyst says that the speaker of parliament should have taken power on his death. Chad’s constitution calls for the National Assembly to step in when a president dies while in office. Raising the question of whether the military handing over power to Deby’s son instead of following the constitutional provisions in place amounted to a coup.

“But it is not. That in itself is a coup,” a senior regional diplomat told Reuters on Monday. The diplomat added that, “He has been grooming the son for some time. They will continue to face the rebellion. Deby had his hand in many things in the Sahel. His death disrupt things.”

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