Chad’s longtime leader has died of wounds suffered during a visit to front-line troops battling a little-known rebel group, the military announced Tuesday, just hours after he was declared the winner of an election that would have given him another six years in power.
The military quickly announced President Idriss Deby Itno’s son as the central African nation’s interim leader, succeeding his 68-year-old father who ruled for more than three decades.
Some observers immediately questioned the chain of events leading up to Tuesday’s stunning announcement on national radio and television.
Ayo Sogunro, a Nigerian lawyer and fellow at the South Africa-based Center for Human Rights, said that under Chadian law the term of an incumbent president who dies is completed not by family members but by the National Assembly.
“The army seizing power and conferring it on the son of the president … is a coup and unconstitutional,” Sogunro tweeted Tuesday, calling for the African Union to condemn the transfer of power.
Deby’s 37-year-old son, Mahamat, is best known as a top commander of the Chadian forces aiding a U.N. peacekeeping mission in northern Mali. The military said Tuesday he now will head an 18-month transitional council following his father’s death.
The military called for calm, instituting a 6 p.m. curfew and closing the country’s land and air borders as panic kept many inside their homes in the capital, N’Djamena.
“In the face of this worrying situation, the people of Chad must show their commitment to peace, to stability, and to national cohesion,” Gen. Azem Bermandoa Agouma said. Read more here.https://apnews.com/article/chad-president-idriss-deby-itno-dead-ffd9afdc23e7331ca32765ff693db6d6