The African Union is mourning the death of Chad President, Idriss Deby. Deby took over the chairmanship of the African Union in 2016 from former Zimbabwe President the late Robert Mugabe.

Chad is currently holding the top position of the AU Commission.

In 2016, Deby was chair of the African Union and Chad’s tenure focused on human rights, with a particular focus on the rights of women. During the same year, Chad was re-elected to serve as a member of the African Union Peace and Security Council. He was also re-elected for a sixth term in his country.

In 2018, he was elected as the new chairperson of the Africa Peer review Forum, making him a leader of a voluntary arrangement amongst African states to assess and review their governance.

Chad has remained a country of concern for the African Union Peace and Security Council, mainly because of insecurity, which has now claimed Derby’s life who was killed during clashes with rebels in the country’s north.

The Chair of the African Union DRC President, Felix Tshisekedi, says Deby’s death is not only a loss to Chad, but to Africa as a whole.

Under Deby’s leadership, Chad together with Benin, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria formed a Multinational Joint Task Force, mandated by the African Union Peace and Security Council in 2015 with the support of external partners. Its mission has been to coordinate against Boko Haram militants.

In 2017, Chad won the position of the African Union Commission Chair through Moussa Faki Mahammat, its former Foreign minister. Faki won a second term this year.

‘France loses key ally in fight against terrorism’

France has lost a key ally in the fight against militants in the African Sahel region with the death of Deby, French Defence Minister Florence Parly said on Tuesday.

Deby ruled his country for more than 30 years and was an important Western ally in the fight against militants in Africa. His son, Mahamat Idriss Deby Itmo, was named interim president by a transitional council of military officers, army spokesman Azem Bermendao Agouna said on state television.

Deby, 68, took power in a rebellion in 1990 and was one of Africa’s longest-ruling leaders, surviving numerous coup attempts and rebellions. His death could deepen Chad’s problems, and those of its allies.

On the domestic front, the military is divided and the opposition bridling against years of repressive rule. Internationally, France and the United States will be hoping their counter-terrorism efforts are not now pushed off course.

“We need a bit of time to analyse well all the consequences that his death could have,” Parly said at a news conference alongside her German counterpart Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer.

“What’s sure is that the fight against terrorism in the Sahel will not stop.” Additional reporting by Reuters

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