The country's strongman ruler and French regional ally was killed in battle shortly after winning the election. A life forged in conflict, ends in battle.

Chad's longtime leader, Idriss Deby, of 30 years, was pronounced dead by the country's national radio. 

The news will come as a shock to most Chadians in particular as on Monday this week, it was announced that Deby had won a sixth historic term with 79.3 percent of the votes. 

Deby was expected to give a victory speech following the announcement of the results. However, he chose to visit soldiers who were engaging insurgents in the north of the country. 

According to reports, Chadian soldiers were ambushed on the front lines by the Front for Change and Concord (FACT), an insurgent group based in Libya, whose aim is to rid the country of Deby and his 31-year grip on power. 

Through a stroke of luck and serendipity for the FACT rebels, they achieved their goal and potentially exposed the country to further turmoil. 

So who was Idriss Deby?

Deby was a graduate of Moammar Gaddafi's World Revolutionary Center, also dubbed as the "Havard of tyrants", and was close to the late Libyan leader.

In 1990 Deby was himself a rebel leader, formerly an army chief, who ousted the country's longtime dictator Hissene Habre. 

Habre's allies, France and the US, quickly changed sides after having previously backed the ruthless dictator accused of killing thousands and engaging in systemic human rights abuses.

Deby entered Chad's capital N'Djamena triumphantly, and Habre was exiled to Senegal, where he would later be found guilty of human right abuses. 

After a transitional period, in 1996, Deby led the country towards its first multi-party election and became the country's first elected president. He also reached out to the opposition bringing them onboard. 

Deby's reelection in 2001 faced opposition from some parties accusing the president of fraud. However, undeterred by opposition voices in 2005, he changed the constitution through a referendum removing term limits. 

Army desertions and one-man rule

When in 2005, rank and file soldiers deserted the army, the seeds of a long rebellion were laid that would last half a decade. 

Former allies of Deby felt let down that the president changed the constitution, increasing his term limits and increasingly consolidating rule in the hands of one man.

When in 2008 the rebels attacked N'Djamena, they reached the gates of the presidential palace before the country's former colonial power, France, stepped in, helping Deby stay in power. 

Derby, however, saw an opportunity to become useful when in 2013, he joined France in deploying troops to neighbouring Mali, then in the midst of a battle with jihadi forces. 

More than 2,000 troops were deployed to fight alongside French troops, and in 2014, the French army established the regional headquarters.

During this period, Derby became a proactive force in regional politics, launching raids into neighbouring Nigeria against Boko Haram, sent troops to Mauritania and continued the country's military involvement in Mali.

Deby was a man that knew how to stay in power in a region riven by foreign influence, regional tribal rivalries and low-level insurgencies.

In the end, he left behind a country as he took it over, one rife with internal conflict, beholden to regional and international interests. 

The rebel group behind Deby's killing, FACT, had a non-hostility agreement with another Gadaffi era holdover, the self-styled General Khalifa Haftar in Libya, a country itself in the middle of a tussle for power. 

In Libya, France has been an ally of Haftar, even as he gave protection to a group inimical to its partner in Chad. Now, Deby's son, a military officer, has been named interim president by the military. The country's borders have been shut, Chad continues its 30-year transition. 

Source: TRT World