Chad’s newly re-elected President Idriss Deby has died of injuries suffered while fighting rebels in the north of the country, the army has said.
In a statement read out on state television on Tuesday, army spokesman General Azem Bermandoa Agouna said Deby, 68, “has just breathed his last defending the sovereign nation on the battlefield” over the weekend.
General Mahamat Kaka, the son of the deceased Chadian leader, is named interim head of state, the army spokesman said.
The news of the President’s death comes after provisional election results released on Monday showed that Deby had won a sixth term.
He had been in power since 1990 following an armed rebellion.
Deby won 79.3 per cent of the vote in the 11 April presidential election, the results showed.
He postponed his victory speech to supporters and instead went to visit Chadian soldiers on the frontlines.
The Chadian army has been battling the rebel group Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), which is based across the northern frontier with Libya.
Chad’s military spokesman Agouna told the Reuters news agency that army troops killed more than 300 fighters and captured 150 on Saturday in Kanem province, around 300 kilometres from the capital Ndjamena.
He further said five government soldiers were killed and 36 were injured.