Hindustan Times (East UP)
Chad stunned as president dies ‘fighting terrorists’
N’DJAMENA: Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno, who ruled the central African nation for more than three decades, died on Tuesday of wounds suffered on the battlefield during a fight against rebels, the military announced on national television and radio.
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. An 18-month transitional council will be led by Deby’s 37-year-old son, Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, the military said, while also imposing a nightly curfew of 6pm.
“In the face of this worrying situation, the people of Chad must show their attachment to peace, to stability, and to national cohesion,” Azem Bermandoa Agouma said.
The circumstances of Deby’s death could not immediately be independently confirmed due to the remote location of the fighting. The military said Deby had taken “the heroic lead in combat operations against terrorists who had come from Libya”. After being wounded in battle, he then was taken to the capital, the general announced.
However, some foreign observers questioned how a head of state could have been killed. The Chadian military had acknowledged five deaths in weekend fighting in which it said it killed 300 rebels.
“We still don’t have the whole story,” Laith Alkhouri, a global intelligence adviser, said. “It raises concerns regarding the security forces and their intelligence.”