[Exclusive] Chad: The last hours of President Idriss Déby
The death of the Chadian president was announced on 20 April. We have reconstructed here the details of the Marshal's final battle.
By Anne-Marie Bissada
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.
In a swift change of fate, after news had come in that Chad’s veteran president, Idriss Déby had won a sixth term, by 79.3%, in the latest provisional results in on Monday, an announcement broadcast on national television today has announced his death.
According to the army spokesperson, Général Azem Bemrandoua Agouna, the military had been pushed back by a column of insurgents who were advancing on the capital, N’Djamena.
Déby, was expected to give a victory speech after receiving the provisional results, but opted instead to visit Chadian soldiers on the front lines, said his campaign director Mahamat Zen Bada.
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.
[ 🇹🇩 TCHAD ]
🔸Le mouvement rebelle du Front pour l'alternance et la concorde au Tchad (Fact) arrivé de sa base arrière de Libye est entré en territoire tchadien le 11 avril le jour de l'élection présidentielle avec pour objectif de chasser le président Idriss Déby. pic.twitter.com/9GbtmeXFNL
— (Little) Think Tank (@L_ThinkTank) April 18, 2021
In an interview with Radio-France Internationale, Mahamat Mahadi Ali, the rebel leader of FACT, said Déby had attended the battle on Sunday and Monday (18 and 19 April), where the fighting was taking place in the centre-west of the country, near Nokou in Kanem. Déby was reportedly wounded on the battlefield on Sunday, and was then flown to the capital 400km way by helicopter.
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For now, the constitution has been suspended. A military council will take over in the interim, under the leadership of General Mahamat Kaka, otherwise known as Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, the son of Idriss.
This temporary government should remain in place for 18 months.
His son has been a general in the Chadian army and for many years headed the Direction Générale des Services de Sécurité des Institutions de l’État (DGSSIE) [General Directorate of Security Services for State Institutions], which includes the presidential guard.
His new role as President of the Transitional Council will make the 37 year-old Mahamat the youngest head of state on the continent.
We will continue to update this as we get more information
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The death of the Chadian president was announced on Tuesday 20 April. Idriss Déby Itno had just been declared the winner of the election on 11 April, when he ran for a sixth term. From the desert expanses of the Ennedi, where he grew up, to those of the Libyan border, where he had forged an image of fearless warrior, he had weathered many storms. Until he met the rebel group known as FACT.
Killed while directing an offensive against the armed group FACT, which had entered Chad through southern Libya, the late president Idriss Déby had always known that his power was coveted by and under threat from rebel movements, many of which established rear bases in Libya or Sudan. Here we break down the groups since his rise to power.
The death of Chad’s President Idriss Déby Itno came as a surprise, given his resilience and cat-like ability to avoid near-death experiences in the past. But the group being blamed for his death is Front pour l’Alternance et la Concorde au Tchad (FACT). They are not a well-known rebel group, but they have been around. Here are some facts on FACT.
As soon as the death of Chad's President Idriss Déby Itno’s was reported on 20 April, the Chadian army announced the formation of a transitional council, which will run the country for 18 months and be headed by Mahamat Idriss Déby, the son of Idriss.
For once the funereal protestations of regional and international leaders at the violent death of a military leader are more than diplomatic posturing. That much will be clear in some desperate consultations around the funeral of Marshall Idris Déby Itno in N’Djamena on Friday.
Albert Pahimi Padacké, who both ran as a presidential candidate against the late Idriss Déby Itno and served as his prime minister, has just recently been appointed prime minister of President Mahamat Idriss Déby’s transitional government by the NTC.
The Covid-19 pandemic and oil prices have weakened Chad’s economy, which has taken a major hit due to increased security spending. However, an IMF package worth $560m was promised to N'Djamena in January.
More than a week after the death of President Idris Déby Itno, the rebels who killed the Chadian strongman are not relenting their fight as they continue to engage troops in the northern Kanem region, around 330km from Nigeria’s border communities. Experts are concerned about the growing political instability in Chad disrupting the Sahel security apparatus, with Nigeria among the hardest hit. But the Nigerian army tells The Africa Report not to worry, because it will 'fill the gap' left by the death of Déby in the regional security calculus.
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