The Chadian military has successfully executed what could be described as a coup following the death of President Idriss Deby on Tuesday.
Mr Deby, 68, died on Tuesday from injuries sustained while leading the military in a battle against insurgents, the army said.
Rather than follow the constitutional provision that mandates the speaker of the parliament to hold office for 40 days in the case of the death of the president, the army said it was dissolving the Chadian parliament, suspending the constitution and naming Mr Idris’ son, Mahamat Kaka, interim president of the country.
The 37-year-old Mr Kaka, a major-general in the Chadian army, will now lead a military council for an 18 months transition period, army spokesperson, Azem Agouna, said.
Mr Deby, who ruled Chad since 1990, died of wounds suffered on the frontline during a battle against rebels in the country’s north who were advancing on the country’s capital, Ndjamena, Mr Agouna said.
Mr Deby was killed a day after he was declared winner of a presidential election that would have given him a sixth term in office.
The exact circumstances of Mr Deby’s death were not immediately clear.
PREMIUM TIMES reported earlier how the late president had been commanding his army at the weekend as it battled rebels who had launched a major incursion into the north of the country on election day on April 11.
Mr Deby will go down in history as one of Africa’s longest-ruling leaders, surviving numerous coup attempts and rebellions.
His untimely death could deepen Chad’s security problems.
A curfew has been imposed and the country’s borders have been shut in the wake of the president’s death.
“The government and National Assembly have been dissolved and a nationwide curfew imposed from 6 p.m. to 5 a.m.
“The National Council of Transition reassures the Chadian people that all measures have been taken to guarantee peace, security and the republican order,” Mr Agouna added
The military council said it would lead a transition for a period of 18 months leading to free and fair elections.
Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan noted however that the establishment of the military council is not in Chad’s constitution,
“What the constitution says is that in the absence of the president or in case he dies, then the speaker of the parliament takes charge of the country for 40 days and so a transition is put in place until elections are held,” she said.
“[But] the military announced that the legislative assembly has been dissolved and that the constitution also has been dissolved, so what they are doing is that they replaced the constitution with their own set of rules.”
ECOWAS, the West African regional bloc, is yet to speak on the apparent coup by the Chadian army. Nigeria, Chad’s large and influential neighbour has also not spoken on the military’s action.
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