News of the shocking death of Chadian President Idriss Deby drew tributes and condolences as world powers mourned the death of an ally seen as essential in the fight against security threats in the Sahel region.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Chadian army said Deby is dead injuries sustained during a visit to the front lines in the north of the country where government troops fight rebels in the troubled border region with Libya.
Deby, who has ruled the central African country since coming to power in a 1990 coup had a day earlier won a sixth consecutive term.
His 37-year-old son, four-star General Mahamat Idriss Deby, has been appointed acting head of an 18-month-old transitional military council.
Here’s how the world reacted to the news of Deby’s death:
France deplored Deby’s death and said it had taken note of the creation of an interim military body, calling for a swift return to civilian rule and a peaceful transition.
“France has lost a courageous friend,” President Emmanuel Macron’s office said in a statement. “He expresses his strong attachment to the stability and territorial integrity of Chad.”
After a new transitional military council headed by one of Deby’s sons pledged to hold elections in 18 months, French Foreign Minister Le Drian warned the delay should be “limited”.
The White House offered its “sincere condolences” to the Chadian people for Deby’s death.
“We condemn the recent violence and the loss of life in Chad,” a White House spokesperson said in a statement.
“We support a peaceful transition of power in accordance with the Chadian constitution.”
African Union leader Moussa Faki Mahamat, former Chadian Prime Minister, said he was saddened by Deby’s death, sending his condolences to his family.
“It is with great dismay and deep emotion that I learned of the death today of President Idriss Deby Itno,” said Faki, who was the Prime Minister of Chad from 2003 to 2005.
He called Deby “a great statesman and recognized military leader. I offer my sincere condolences to the Chadian people and their families.
The head of foreign affairs of the European Union, Josep Borrell, expressed his condolences to the Chadian family, authorities and people.
“The EU calls on all relevant actors to act responsibly, the immediate priority being the stability of the country and the region,” Borrell said.
At the same time, the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, declared that “stability, security and [territorial] the integrity of the country must be preserved. “
The United Nations
Volkan Bozkir, president of the UN General Assembly, tweeted his “deepest condolences”.
I extend my most sincere condolences to the Chadian people on the occasion of the death of His Excellency Mr. Idriss Deby Itno, President of the Republic, Head of State, Supreme Chief of the Armed Forces, who had just been re-elected. I will soon summon a #UNGA meeting to pay tribute to his memory.
– Volkan BOZKIR (@volkan_bozkir) April 20, 2021
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu conveyed his condolences on Twitter, praising “Deby’s bold leadership and … his historic decision to renew Chad’s relations with Israel.”
In neighboring Mali, also in the grip of a transitional military regime, Interim President Bah Ndaw expressed his “deep sadness” at the news of Deby’s “brutal death”.
He called it “a heavy loss, not only for Chad for which he made the greatest sacrifice, but for the Sahel region and for Africa”, where the two countries have been allies against the threats posed by armed groups.
With his “commitment and his vision, he contributed to a stronger and united Africa”.
In an official statement, President Mohamed Bazoum and the government of neighboring Niger praised “Deby’s personal commitment in the fight against terrorism and for the stabilization of the Sahelo-Saharan region”.
The declaration also reassured the Chadian people of Niger “in their commitment to work with them for the peace and stability of the G5 Sahel States and the States bordering Lake Chad”.
Senegalese President Macky Sall honored “Deby’s memory and contribution to stability in the Sahel”.