President of Chad, Idriss Déby has died of his injuries following clashes with rebels in the north of the country a, the army has said.
The news of his shocking death came a day after provisional election results projected he would win a sixth term in office.
Déby, who was 68, spent more than three decades in power and was one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders.
It would be recalled that Deby, an army officer by training, came to power in 1990 through an armed uprising. He was a long-time ally of France and other Western powers in the battle against jihadist groups in the Sahel region of Africa.
Déby “breathed his last defending the sovereign nation on the battlefield”, an army general said on state TV.
Local reports said he had gone to the front line, several hundred kilometres north of the capital, N’Djamena, to visit troops battling rebels belonging to a group calling itself Fact (the Front for Change and Concord in Chad).
Following his death, an army statement said a military council led by Déby’s son, a 37-year-old four star general, will govern for the next 18 months. Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno will lead the council, but “free and democratic” elections will be held once the transition period is over, the statement said.