President Idriss Déby of Chad is dead. He died on the battlefield after three decades in power, the army announced on state television on Tuesday.
The death of the Chadian leader, who was expected to be declared winner of the presidential election on April 11, 2021, was announced by the Army.
It would have been Deby’s sixth term.
He was said to have “breathed his last breath defending the sovereign nation on the battlefield”, the spokesman of the Chadian Army, General Azem Bermandoa Agouna, said in a statement read out on state television.
Deby’s campaign said on Monday that he was headed to the frontlines to join troops battling “terrorists”.
The circumstances of Deby’s death could not immediately be independently confirmed due to the remote location. It was not known why the president would have visited the area or participated in ongoing clashes with the rebels who opposed his rule.
Rebels based across the northern frontier in Libya attacked a border post on election day and then advanced hundreds of kilometres south across the desert.
Chad’s army is currently combating rebels who launched an assault on the capital, N’Djamena.
Deby came to power in a rebellion in 1990 and is one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders.