Chad President Déby Dies In Clashes With Rebels

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By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News

(Worthy News) – Chad’s longtime President Idriss Déby Itno has died in clashes with rebels in the north of the country, the military confirmed Tuesday.

The government and parliament have been dissolved. A military council will govern for the next 18 months, adding to uncertainty for minority Christians.

The shock announcement came only the day after the 68-year-old was proclaimed the winner of a presidential election. He had been given a sixth term in office, winning 80 percent of the vote, which would have made him one of the world’s longest-serving leaders.

The army said a military council led by the late president’s 37-year-old son Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, a four-star general, replaces him. The council will govern for the next eighteen months, the military said.

The developments were expected to be closely monitored by rights groups. “Chad is a majority-Muslim country,” though “the rule of President Idris Déby Itno has been regarded as bringing greater religious liberty for Christians,” said Christian advocacy group Open Doors.

However, it noted that “the majority of government positions, including military positions, are filled by Muslims. These officials often use their positions to exert pressure on Christians. Nominal Christians are especially susceptible to falling prey to this pressure.”


He had ruled the African nation of 16-million with an iron fist for three decades but was a crucial ally in the West’s anti-jihadist campaign in the troubled Sahel region. Deby would have been one of the longest-serving leaders in the world after provisional results showed him winning the April 11 election.

Déby came, a herder’s son from the Zaghawa ethnic group, came to power in an armed uprising in 1990 and was one of Africa’s longest-ruling leaders.

He had gone to the front line at the weekend to visit troops battling rebels based across the border in Libya, authorities said.

Déby had campaigned on a promise of bringing peace and security to the region, but the rebel incursion reportedly undermined his pledges.

The army said Deby had been commanding his army at the weekend as it battled against rebels who had launched a major incursion into the north of the country on election

Déby “has just breathed his last breath defending the sovereign nation on the battlefield,” army spokesman General Azem Bermandoa Agouna said on state television.


On Monday, the army had claimed a “great victory” in its battle against the rebels from neighboring Libya, saying it had killed 300 fighters, with the loss of five soldiers in its ranks during eight days of combat.

The rebel attacks in Chad’s regions of Tibesti and Kanem were carried out by the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), based in Libya. FACT, a group mainly made up of the Saharan Goran people, said Sunday that it had “liberated” the Kanem region. Such claims in remote desert combat zones are difficult to verify.

The Tibesti mountains near the Libyan frontier frequently see fighting between rebels and the army, as well as in the northeast bordering Sudan.

French airstrikes were needed to stop an incursion there in February 2019.

In February 2008, a rebel assault reached the gates of the presidential palace in Chad’s capital in what became known as the Battle of N’Djamena. The forces were pushed back with French backing.

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