Chad President Idris Debbie Itano died after being wounded on the battlefield. He was the President of the Central African country for more than three decades. The military announced this on national television and radio on Tuesday.
The incident occurred just hours after he was declared the winner in the election. The victory in this election paved the way for Debbie to remain in power for another six-year term.
The military said on Tuesday that Debbie fought bravely but was wounded in the fighting. He was taken to the capital, where he died of a wound.
The army immediately declared Mahamat Idris Debbie Itano, the son of President Debbie, as the interim leader of the Central African country. He will replace his 68-year-old father. Some observers immediately questioned the developments.
Ayo Sogunero, a Nigerian lawyer and researcher at the South Africa-based Center for Human Rights, said that under Chad's law, his term is not completed by family members but by the National Assembly when the president dies.
Sogunero tweeted on Tuesday that the military was seizing power and then handing it over to the president's son - it's a coup and unconstitutional. He appealed to the African Union to condemn the transfer of power.
Mahamat is known as the top commander of Chad's forces assisting with UN peacekeeping missions in northern Mali.
The army reported that Mahamat would lead an 18-month transitional council. At the same time, the army also announced the imposition of a night curfew from six o'clock in the evening. The army closed the ground and air borders of the country, appealing for peace. Due to the fear created by this development, people stayed in their homes in the capital city of Enzamina.
General Azim Bermondoa Agouma said that in view of these worrisome circumstances, the people of Chad should show their commitment to peace, stability, and national solidarity.
The circumstances under which Debbie died have not been independently confirmed as the site is located in a remote area. It is not yet known why the president went to the forward area in North Chad or why he participated in the conflict with the rebels opposing his rule.
Debbie, the former commander-in-chief of the army, came to power in 1990 when rebel forces removed the then-president Hissen Hubre from the post. He was later convicted by the International Tribunal in Senegal for human rights violations.