Chad’s President Dies on the Battlefield

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By Seth Gellman

Source: Ammar Awad/Reuters

Following clashes with local rebels, Chad’s president Idriss Déby died of injuries on April 19. After winning his sixth term in office, Déby was scheduled to give a victory speech on Monday. However, he decided to visit soldiers battling local rebels north of N’Djamena. No public information has been released on the specific circumstances of his death.

Déby’s son, Mahamat Déby Itno, a general, took power immediately after his death. This was condemned swiftly since his actions violated the constitution. The constitution specifies that if the president dies, the president of the national assembly should take over. Vava Tampa, an analyst and activist, said, “That by itself is a coup d’état.” 

Déby ruled with an iron grip for three decades. He involved the nation in many conflicts across the nation and was increasingly autocratic at home. It is unknown if the developing nation can transition peacefully without Déby. Additionally, Déby was a reliable ally to the West and France specifically in helping fight islamic terrorists. In fact, French President Emmanuel Macron attended his funeral, giving his tributes to the strongman. 

Opponents were forcefully sidelined from the election that would elect Déby to his sixth term. In fact, Déby said that he was sure that he would win, “as I have done so for the last thirty years.” The United States will continue to work closely with the Chadian military, ensuring that counterterrorism measures continue. The upcoming power struggle will be important to watch if Déby’s son will hold power or if the nation follows the constitution.

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