Chad’s President Idriss Déby died from combat wounds on 20 April, the country’s military has confirmed. 

The 68-year-old died while visiting troops in northern Chad, where the army is fighting rebels belonging to FACT (the Front for Change and Concord in Chad). 

A curfew has been imposed and borders closed, while a state funeral is set to take place on 23 April. 

The rebel group FACT accused the late-president of repression in the run up to elections that took place recently on 11 April. 

They are based in northern Chad and southern Libya, and have been advancing on the capital N’Djamena since fighting resumed last Saturday. 

The BBC notes that provisional elections released the day before Déby died suggested he would win a sixth term in office, with a projected 80% of the vote.

Déby, previously an armed officer himself, was in power for over 30 years, having become president in 1990 during an armed uprising. 

Parliament has been dissolved following his death, and a military council including 14 generals, led by Déby’s son Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, will govern for the next 18 months.  

The army has said that once this transition period is over, “free and democratic” elections will take place to elect a new president. 

However, the BBC states that experts have called the move “unconstitutional”, arguing that the speaker of parliament should take charge when a sitting president dies. 

The Guardian quotes army spokesman Azem Bermendao as saying “the national council of transition reassures the Chadian people that all measures have been taken to guarantee peace, security and the republican order.”

FACT has rejected the council of transition, saying in a statement that “Chad is not a monarchy. There can be no dynastic devolution of power in our country.”

Condolences have poured in from various countries. 

France, a long-time ally of President Déby, have expressed their condolences, with the French presidency calling Déby a “brave friend.”  

Senegalese President Macky Sall said on Twitter “I salute his memory and pay tribute to his contribution to the stabilization of the Sahel,” while Guinean President Alpha Conde said “we have lost a great friend and a tireless advocate for Africa.”

Both expressed their condolences to his family and the people of Chad. 

Image Credit: Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office

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