President Idriss Deby Dies at 68 But Who Was He?
President Idriss Deby of Chad has died. He was killed during his visit to encourage soldiers fighting militant forces. He recently claimed victory in the recently concluded Chad election where it was announced he won by 80%. Born in 1952, Idriss Deby was declared dead at a hospital in Gbadamili in the center of Chad, where he has been treated in recent days. The late President has ruled Chad for more than 30 years. He was an important ally to Western nations in the fight against Islamic extremism in Africa.
A statement issued by the Central African Republic Police on Saturday said that a military vehicle carrying the body of Idriss Deby was found in Gbadamili, North West Region, on Saturday morning. The President’s death was announced by Former Interim, President Michel Djotodia, in a statement on Chad’s state television on Saturday evening. Mr Djotodia called for unity in the face of terrorism, adding that he would pay tribute to President Idriss Deby and his wife. The Islamic militant group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the attack on the Late President on Friday. His death leaves the African Union (AU) member state and its 7 million citizens with no permanent head of state.
The Chad leader had been trying to bring together warring groups in the country’s north, the biggest threat from the extremist group Boko Haram, which killed hundreds of people in an attack on a remote Nigerian border village in December. The Chad leader had also promoted military cooperation with Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger, two other neighbours of the northeast. Chad and Nigeria have enjoyed diplomatic relations since the 1970s and were part of the ECOWAS union.
He had also sought regional cooperation to tackle the threat from Boko Haram.
President Deby, 68, was elected the 5th president of the Central African Republic by a legislative majority, having previously served as minister of information.
He was born in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, in 1952 and spent his early years in Senegambia and Mali. He returned to Ivory Coast and joined the French Foreign Legion in 1969.
Chad has seen decades of instability and political violence since independence from France in 1962. The country has seen major coups and a coup attempt, both of the president and vice-president, and civil war in the past.
President Deby was first elected in 1981. He served as president between 2001 and 2005. A coup d’etat attempt was foiled in 2003 and after a successful coup attempt in 2005, Deby was elected for a second term. A political party led by Abdoulaye Wade, who went on to become the current President, seized power in February.
President Deby was regarded as a moderate and a key player in the anti-terrorist fight against extremists based in neighboring Somalia. He built relations with neighbors and the U.S. and led Chad to host international counterterrorism units that have been key to the campaign against extremist organizations based in neighboring countries.
The president was widely respected in Chad and also in the world.
Chad, as a moderate Arab country, played a crucial role in defeating terrorists in Mali. Chad’s President and Mali’s President, Amadou Toumani Toure, signed a historic peace accord in Paris last year in the first of its kind between West African countries and an Arab state.
The president and Toumani Toure were respected in the Arab world. In 2010, President Deby played a key role in the fight against terrorism in Egypt, becoming instrumental in delivering four of the seven judges and 70 judges to be freed from detention under a controversial law.
President Deby was praised by the President of France and President of France Francois Mitterrand. He was elected in 1981 and served from 1991 to 1997.
With President Deby and the leadership of his government, Chad was a force in African affairs. In his four years in office, the president and his government rescued 437 missionaries kidnapped in various countries and negotiated the release of 2,000 hostages.
President Deby is highly respected in the world. Today, he is referred to as a man of peace, peacemaker, and a president who brought security to his people. The president has no friends in politics, no enemies, and no foes. He is loved by his people.
With the leadership of President Deby, France played a key role in the fight against terrorism. President Deby, assisted by the minister of foreign affairs, organized and spearheaded the effort to evacuate all missionaries in Mali to Chad.
The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, called Deby to congratulate him on the outcome of the mission. In attendance was French President, Jacques Chirac. After welcoming all the missionaries, Sarkozy said “France has done its duty. More work remains.”
Deby and his ministers thanked President Sarkozy for his message of support, welcoming the French President’s words. Deby thanked President Sarkozy for his gracious gesture. Chirac also thanked President Deby for his gift, welcoming him with warmth.
President Deby has received a warm welcome in every country where he landed. Everywhere he landed, he was greeted by the citizens of Chad.