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.
Much like his forerunners, Idriss Déby, who became president of Chad through a military coup in late 1990, had to contend with rebel groups early on in his rule. In 1995, the president’s former army chief of staff, Mahamat Garfa, took up arms against him with the help of his nephew, Mahamat Nour Abdelkerim.
Ultimately killed on 18 April in Kanem region, Déby had always known that his power was under threat from rebels, most of whom were welcomed or even supported by neighbouring countries, Libya and Sudan chief among them.
There have been a few close calls, like in May 2005 when Abdelkerim’s forces nearly captured the capital, N’Djamena. And in February 2008, Déby, at the ready to fight, decided to confront Mahamat Nouri’s troops in Massaguet, a city 80 kilometres north-east of N’Djamena. In the end, the rebels were forced to retreat, but his presidency had come close to being upended.
Re-elected six times, President Déby never went unchallenged. But the 2011 collapse of Muammar Gaddafi’s rule in Libya only added to the climate of instability. Since 2018, he had been grappling with a new wave of rebel movements coming from northern Chad. We break down the situation in two infographics below.
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