President Idriss Déby Itno of Chad died today from injuries sustained in the battlefield, according to a statement read on national tv by military spokesperson General Azem Bermandoa Agouna. Déby is said to have been commanding troops to fight rebels who were just miles away from the capital city of Chad, N’djamena. The rebels had advanced from the Libya-Chad border. His death ended a 30 year-old hold on power. On April 19, President Déby was re-elected to a sixth term in office. Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, a four-star general, and the former president’s son, is leading a military transition. He is 37-years old. The army has dissolved the government and parliament, according to Radio France Internationale-RFI.
The nation has long suffered from corruption, human rights abuses, tribal divisions, and nepotism, according to Amjambo Africa news editor Jean Damascene Hakuzimana. “The country might be at the dawn of political change or civil unrest. New leaders like Success Masra, leader of the Transformateurs political party, have emerged and may attract young people to demand changes in the nation’s management. At the same time, with the military now in power, and rebel groups near the nation’s capital – as well as the Boko Haram terrorist group – the havoc this death may bring could be immeasurable.”
Hakuzimana added that France, whose role in their former colony (and now ally) has been considerable, will be important in efforts to mediate the crisis. And the United States has an interest, since Chad’s stability is key in the fight against islamic terrorism in North Africa.