The Chadian army has announced that General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, a four-star general and son of Chad’s slain president Idriss Deby Itno will replace him as the head of its military council.
The army’s spokesman, General Azem Bermandoa Agouna, said on state radio, shortly after the announcement that the newly re-elected president had died of wounds while fighting rebels in the north of Chad that a military council had been set up and will be headed by the late president’s son.
U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said on Tuesday that Washington wants to see a transition in Chad that is consistent with its constitution after the death of President Idriss Deby on Monday.
TOS TV Network earlier reported that Chad’s president of three decades died of wounds suffered during a visit to front-line troops battling a shadowy rebel group, the military announced Tuesday, as the insurgents vowed to take the capital in what could become a violent battle for control of the oil-rich Central African nation.
According to AP News, reports says the circumstances of Deby’s death remained murky and some observers immediately questioned the events leading up to Tuesday’s announcement, raising the question of whether the military handing over power to Deby’s son instead of following the constitutional provisions in place amounted to a coup. Others raised fears of violence in the days to come.
Over the years Deby had survived numerous armed rebellions and managed to stay in power until this latest insurgency led by the Front for Change and Concord in Chad.
The rebels are believed to have armed and trained in neighboring Libya before crossing into northern Chad on April 11. Their arrival came on the same day that Chad’s president sought a sixth term in an election several top opposition candidates boycotted.