Chad: President Idris Deby confirmed dead after 30 years in power

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According to a confirmation from the national army of Chad read on national television, the newly re-elected President Idriss Déby has died of wounds he received while commanding his army in battles against rebels in the north.

The stunning announcement came just hours after electoral officials had declared Deby, 68, the winner of the April 11 presidential election, paving the way for him to stay in power for six more years.Deby “has just breathed his last defending the sovereign nation on the battlefield” over the weekend, army spokesman General Azem Bermandoa Agouna said in a statement read out on state television.

Deby’s campaign said on Monday that he was headed to the frontlines to join troops battling “terrorists”. According to one report, the soldiers were attacked by militants from the Front pour l’Alternance et la Concorde au Tchad (FACT) (Front for Change and Concord in Chad) who had arrived from their base in Libya and had entered Chadian soil on 11 April.

Their stated goal was to rid the country of Déby’s 31 years of power.

The circumstances of Deby’s death could not immediately be independently confirmed due to the remote location. It was not known why the president would have visited the area or participated in ongoing clashes with the rebels who opposed his rule.

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