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Chad: President Deby wins reelection, extending 30 years in power

Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno has won a sixth term in office, according to provisional election results. He had campaigned for peace and security in a country afflicted by violence.

Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno (C) casts his ballot at a polling station in N'djamena, on April 11, 2021. (Photo by MARCO LONGARI / AFP)

Deby is set for a sixth term as president

Chad's incumbent president, Idriss Deby Itno, has been reelected for a sixth term with 79.32% of the vote, provisional results released by the election commission showed on Monday.

The elections were held on April 11 and had a turnout of just under 65%. 

Former prime minister Albert Pahimi Padacke came in second with 10.32% of the vote, while Chad's first female president candidate, Lydie Beassemda, secured 3.16%. The election was boycotted by the country's top opposition leaders.

The results are yet to be confirmed by the Supreme Court.

Deby, 68, was due to give a victory speech, but his campaign director said he had instead visited Chadian soldiers battling insurgents advancing on the capital, N'Djamena.

"The candidate would have liked to have been here to celebrate ... but right now, he is alongside our valiant defense and security forces to fight the terrorists threatening our territory," his campaign director Mahamat Zen Bada said. 

Deby came to power through a rebellion in 1990. 

Promise of peace and security

Deby had campaigned on a promise of peace and security in the region, which has been gripped by insurgency and violence for years.

Chad's army said on Monday that it had killed about 300 rebels and detained 150. 

According to military spokesman General Azem Bermandoa Agouna, heavily armed rebels fighting for the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) entered northern Chad from Libya and passed through the province of Kanem before approaching the capital. 

Five soldiers were killed and 36 wounded in the clashes between forces and rebels, he said.

The country supports the G5 Sahel alliance in combating terror in the region. Several terrorist groups are active in the Sahel, and some of them have ties to Islamic terrorist groups such as al-Qaida or Islamic State.

The recent clashes in Chad have caused alarm in Western countries, many of whom view Deby as an ally in the fight against regional terrorism. 

The US had asked all its nonessential embassy staff to leave the country. Britain too has advised its citizens to leave Chad as soon as possible.

tg/nm (dpa, AFP, Reuters)