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Breaking: Son of killed Chad president to take over as military head

General Mahamat Idriss Deby, 37-year-old son of the late Chadian leader, Idris Deby, has been named as the interim head of state of the country, few hours after the death of the late president was announced.

The BBC reports that the military council will govern the country for the next 18 months.

The four star general will lead the council but “free and democratic elections will be held once the transition period is over,” the army said in its statement.

Late Chad’s President Idriss Deby reportedly died while visiting troops on the frontline of a fight against northern rebels, an army spokesman, Azem Agouna, said on Tuesday; the day after Deby was declared the winner of a presidential election.

Deby took 79.3 per cent of the vote in the April 11 presidential election. However, the election was boycotted by opposition leaders.

Deby, 68, came to power in a rebellion in 1990 and was one of Africa’s longest-ruling leaders.

His campaign said he was joining troops battling what he called terrorists after rebels based across the northern frontier in Libya advanced hundreds of kilometres south toward the capital N’Djamena.

Agouna also told Reuters that army troops killed more than 300 fighters and captured 150 on Saturday in Kanem province.

“Five government soldiers were killed and 36 were injured,” he added.

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