We don’t know exactly how Chad’s President Idriss Deby died while visiting troops in the north of his country on Sunday.
Africa’s fifth longest service President who won Sunday’s election with 79,3% of the vote, elected to be with his soldiers rather than attend a ceremony celebrating his sixth term in the office he seized in a 1990 rebellion.
His army spokesman General Azar Bermourdoa Agoma read a statement on national television saying Deby had breathed his last while defending the nation’s sovereignty on the battlefield.
Perhaps further details will come from his his 37-year-old son General Mahamat Idriss Deby who has been named interim president.
We should not expect much from the media after the military imposed a curfew and shut the country’s borders following the president’s death.
Chad’s constitution and its legislative assembly have been dissolved.
This means the legal course of events following the death of the president, that would put the speaker in charge for 40 days until a transition or fresh elections are held, is not being followed.
At the weekend the military said it had stopped an approach on the capital N’Djamena by rebels of the Front For Chance And Concord in Chad.
The organisation that goes by the Acronym FACT has bases in neighboring Libya.
The Chadian army denies that FACT has seized control of Kanem Province 300 km north of N’Djamena and claims it has stopped the rebels in their tracks, killing more than 300 of then.
The 68 year-old son of a herder was a valued ally of the Western powers and a leading member of the Sahel group fighting jihadis.
The rebel advance that started on April 9 had the United States withdrawing non-essential personnel from its embassy in N’Djamena and the British Foreign Office urging nationals to leave Chad.
France, by contrast advised its nationals that there is no threat in N’Djamena.
The rebel action was an embarrassment for Deby who fought the election with a promise of bringing peace and security to the nation.
This is by no means the first rebel attack he has resisted.
In 2008 rebels advanced to the gates of the presidential palace in the capital before they were repelled with French military support.