Idriss Deby, the president of Central African state Chad, has been killed in clashes with rebels, confirmed country’s military on Tuesday.
The killing of Deby, who remained in power for 30 years after he came into power in December 1990 coup when his rebel forces dethroned then president Hissene Habre, came a day after he was declared winner of April 11 presidential election.
The Chad’s military spokesperson said that an 18-month transitional council will be led by Mr Deby’s 37-year-old son Mahamat.
The deceased was termed by country’s opposition autocrat but he was considered a key ally of West in a war against a militant group.
His death is a major setback to France, which declared Mr Deby “a courageous friend.”
Deby had allowed the approximately 5,000 French troops to set their base in Chad’s capita N’Djamena for the Operation Barkhane counter-insurgency in the Sahel region.
Chadian opposition leader Saleh Kebzabo told VOA’s French to Africa service that he was surprised to learn of President Deby’s death.
“We think that, in this kind of situation, one should refrain from precipitous decisions. One should make time for concertation, time for unity and understanding, so that Chadians can look at the future in the same direction,” he told VOA. “It is also the occasion to recall that, last week, political actors, including myself, and those of civil society groups signed a common statement titled ‘Joint Statement for an Inclusive Dialogue.’ So, the time for dialogue is now, the dialogue opportunity is here. Chadians must get together right away for such dialogue.”