On the frontlines of Chad’s battle against rebels, President Idriss Deby Itno, 68, has died, just one day after his re-election for a sixth term, the army announced Tuesday.
"It is with great bitterness that we announce to the Chadian people the death, this Tuesday, April 20, 2021 of the Marshal du Tchad," said a statement by Gen. Azem Bermandoa Agouna, army spokesperson, using the French spelling of the country’s name.
"The President of the Republic, Head of State, Supreme Head of the Armed Forces Idriss Déby Itno has just had his last breath in defending territorial integrity on the battlefield," the statement added.
His death came a day after Itno officially won a sixth consecutive term with 79.3% of the vote from the April 11 elections.
The Chadian army announced late Sunday that it had killed more than 300 rebels in the northern part of the Central African country.
The rebels were from the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT), the military said in a press release. Fighting started a day after the April 11 presidential elections.
On Saturday, the US State Department ordered the departure of non-emergency US government employees from its embassy in the capital N’Djamena, fearing political unrest and violence.
A landlocked Sahelian country in Central Africa, for the past decade Chad has been struggling with security challenges associated with conflicts in bordering countries, as well as the impact of climate change.