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Chad’s President dies ‘on the battlefield’, just a day after winning a sixth term in office

Chad’s President Idriss Deby has died on the battlefield after three decades in power, the army announced on state television on Tuesday.  The shock announcement came only the day after the 68-year-old was proclaimed the winner of a presidential election that had given him a sixth term in office.

Idriss Deby Itno, centre-right, meets with French Defense Minister Herve Morin, centre-left, in 2008.

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

Mr. Deby “has just breathed his last breath defending the sovereign nation on the battlefield,” army spokesman General Azem Bermandoa Agouna said in a statement read out on state television.

In the troubled Sahel region, Mr. Deby, 68, had ruled Chad with an iron fist for three decades but was a crucial ally in the West’s anti-jihadist campaign. The army said a military council led by the late president’s 37-year-old son Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, a four-star general, would replace him. Idriss Deby Itno, center-right, meets with French Defense Minister Herve Morin, center-left, in 2008.

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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 own ranks during eight days of combat.

Mr. Deby would have been one of the longest-serving leaders in the world after provisional results showed him winning the 11 April election.

He was a herder’s son from the Zaghawa ethnic group who took the classic path to power through the army and relished the military culture.

His latest election victory – with almost 80 percent of the vote – had never been in doubt, with a divided opposition, boycott calls, and a campaign in which demonstrations were banned or dispersed.

Mr. Deby had campaigned on a promise of bringing peace and security to the region, but his pledges were undermined by the rebel incursion.

The government had sought Monday to assure concerned residents that the offensive was over.

Molly Aronson

Molly Aronson is a 26-year-old government politician who enjoys bowling, running and jigsaw puzzles. She is creative and exciting, but can also be very greedy and a bit greedy.She is an australian Christian who defines herself as straight. She has a post-graduate degree in philosophy, politics and economics. She is allergic to grasshoppers.

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