Africa lost another sitting president, Idriss Deby of Chad, on Tuesday, April 20. Media reports indicate that Deby died from the injuries he sustained when he visited the Chadian soldiers at the frontline of the battle against rebels in the northern part of the country.
The late president who had been in power for over 30 years had just been re-elected for a sixth term before his untimely death. Deby died at the age of 68.
However, no chance was left for anarchy as the late president’s son, Mahamat Idriss Deby, was announced to replace his father.
A report by Al Jazeera indicates that Mahamat will perform the functions of the president and also serve as head of the armed forces. He will be in charge for 18 months before handing over to a democratically elected government.
Below are some key facts about the new Chadian leader, according to the report.
1. Mahamat Idriss Deby, 37-year-old, is a four-star general in the Chadian Army
2. Just like his late father, Mahamat is a career soldier who is from the Zaghawa ethnic group
3. Mahamat who is nicknamed Kaka attended a military school in Aix-en-Provence, southern France
4. After a brief education in France, he returned to Chad and was trained at a military school in Chad's capital city, N’Djamena, before joining the presidential guard
5. Within a short time, he was promoted to head the security at the presidential palace before finally becoming the commander in chief of the presidential guard
6. In 2013, he was appointed deputy chief of the Chadian army deployed to Mali
7. His wife, named Dahabaye Oumar Souny, is a journalist at the presidential press service.
The Nigerian leader, in a sent by one of his media aides, Garba Shehu, said the sudden and tragic death of President Idriss Deby of Chad on the front line, fighting against rebel soldiers came as a rude shock to him.
"I'm deeply shocked and devastated by the sudden death of Idriss Deby on the battlefront to defend the sovereignty of his country," the president said.
In another report, the Nigerian government has warned that the unrest in Chad following the death of President Deby and the interim transition of power to his son, General Mahamat, could spark a serious crisis in the Sahel.
In a press statement released on Wednesday, April 21, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs noted that the temporary military rule in the Central African nation is good at the moment to effect fragile peace and stability.
However, the foreign affairs minister, Geoffrey Onyeama, in the statement pointed out clearly that the ultimate and long-term solution is the return to democracy.