The military says Chad’s president, Idriss Deby, has died after being wounded in clashes with rebels in the north of the country over the weekend.
The statement came a day after provisional election results projected he would win a sixth term in office.
The government and parliament have been dissolved. A curfew has also been imposed and the border has been closed.
Deby, 68, has been in power for more than three decades and is one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders.
An army officer with training, he came to power in 1990 through an armed insurgency. He was a longtime ally of France and other Western powers in the fight against jihadist groups in the Sahel region of Africa.
On state television on Tuesday, the army general said that Deby breathed his last to defend the sovereign country on the battlefield.
He traveled to the front line a few hundred kilometers north of the capital, N’Djamena, over the weekend, to meet with troops fighting a group of rebels known as the FACT (The Front for Change and Concord in Chad)
A military council headed by the Deby son, the 37-year-old four-star general, will run the government for the next 18 months.
A statement from the military said, “Idriss will lead the council, but” free and democratic “elections will be held after the end of the transition period.
Before the April 11 election, Deby campaigned on a platform to bring peace and security to the region.
However, dissatisfaction is growing with his government’s handling of Chad’s oil resources.
Idriss Deby was known as that rare thing – a true warrior president. The former rebel and trained pilot was in contrast to the arm-chair general.
For 30 years he has been in power in Chad – a vast nation that amazes the Sahara and is surrounded by much of the continent’s long-running conflict.
And Dabir had a hand in each. From Darfur to Libya, Mali, Nigeria, and the Central African Republic. His army was among the most battle-hardest on the planet.