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Chad President Idriss Deby dies at 68 after clashes with rebels

By
Don Johnson
Chadian President Idriss Deby and wife Hinda Deby Itno meet with the press at the White House in Washington, D.C., for a state dinner on August 5, 2014. File Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI
Chadian President Idriss Deby and wife Hinda Deby Itno meet with the press at the White House in Washington, D.C., for a state dinner on August 5, 2014. File Photo by Mike Theiler/UPI | License Photo

April 20 (UPI) -- Chad President Idriss Deby has died from injuries he received during a fight with insurgents on the battlefield, military officials said Tuesday.

Military officials said Deby, 68, who'd been in power for more than 30 years, was killed during battle with rebels. No further details were given and the military wasn't clear about exactly when Deby died.

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"The president of the republic, head of state, supreme head of the army, Idriss Deby Itno, has just breathed his last while defending the territorial integrity on the battlefield," Gen. Azem Bermandoa Agouna said in a statement on state television, according to Africa News.

"It is with deep bitterness that we announce to the Chadian people the death ... of the marshal of Chad."

Chad's military said the Front for Change and Concord rebel group began fighting with government forces on April 11, which was the day Deby was elected to a sixth presidential term. The rebel group is based across the northern frontier with Libya.

Officials said a military council led by Mahamat Idriss Deby, the president's 37-year-old son and a four-star general, will replace the Chadian government on a transitional basis.

The country's borders have been closed and a curfew is in place, military officials said.

Deby took power in Chad during an armed rebellion in 1990 and was one of Africa's longest-serving leaders.

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