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Chad President Idriss Deby dies on front line, son to take over, army says

Chad’s President Idriss Deby who recently got re-elected for his sixth term, got injured during clashes with rebels and died in a hospital, the army announced on state television on Tuesday.

The military spokesman Azem Agouna said that the president died while protecting the country’s territorial integrity.

Deby “has just breathed his last breath defending the sovereign nation on the battlefield,” Agouna said.

Déby, who has ruled Chad for 30 years, was re-elected for a sixth term with 79.32 per cent of the vote, according to official results released Monday shortly after the army said it had defeated a rebellion launched on election day April 11 and killed more than 300 enemies.

Marshal Déby’s re-election was widely anticipated by Chadians who voted without enthusiasm on April 11, according to AFP.

The incumbent was opposed by six candidates with no political weight who were accused of being mere “stooges”, as the government had dismissed, legally or through violence and intimidation, the leaders of a divided opposition.

Immediately after the results were announced, large numbers of activists from Déby’s party, the Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS), were singing and dancing in the central Place de la Nation in N’Djamena.

Sporadic automatic gunfire rang out as Déby’s supporters celebrated victory as they had in each of the previous five elections since he took power by force of arms in 1990.

“We are celebrating a beautiful victory in the first round, but we also have a very strong thought for our brothers, our comrades, soldiers of the Chadian army who fell on the field of honor to defend peace, democracy and the continuity of the institutions of the state,” said the secretary-general of the MPS, Mahamat Zen Bada.

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