Chad holds funeral for late president amid rebel threat

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Chadian soldiers carry the coffin of the late Chadian president Idriss Deby during the state funeral in N'Djamena, Chad, Friday, April, 23, 2021. Chad's President Idriss Deby died of injuries suffered in clashes with rebels in the country's north, an army spokesperson announced on state television on 20 April 2021. Deby had been in power since 1990 and was re-elected for a sixth term in the 11 April 2021 elections. The state funeral will take place on the morning of April, 23, 2021, attended by French President Emmanuel Macron. (Christophe Petit Tesson / Pool photo via AP)
Chadian soldiers carry the coffin of the late Chadian president Idriss Deby during the state funeral in N’Djamena, Chad, Friday, April, 23, 2021. Chad’s President Idriss Deby died of injuries suffered in clashes with rebels in the country’s north, an army spokesperson announced on state television on 20 April 2021. Deby had been in power since 1990 and was re-elected for a sixth term in the 11 April 2021 elections. French President Emmanuel Macron and DR Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi were among the heads of state at the ceremony. (Christophe Petit Tesson / Pool photo via AP)

Chad’s slain President Idriss Deby Itno is being buried Friday near his hometown after a state funeral in the capital, N’Djamena.

The country faces an uncertain future. Both opposition leaders and the rebels accused of killing Deby say they aren’t happy with what they say amounts to a coup after power was handed over to Deby’s son, 37-year-old Mahamat Idriss Deby, to lead an 18-month transitional government.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi were among the heads of state at the ceremony for the late president who ruled the Central African nation for 30 years and died at age 68. Deby, an important ally to Western nations in the fight against Islamic extremism in Africa, was fatally wounded this week while visiting the front lines of the battle against the rebels, a military spokesman said Tuesday.

The military council led by his son has some support from the army. Mahamat Deby is only one year older than his father was when his rebel forces overthrew the president in 1990. Many fear he will stay on beyond the 18-month transitional period.

Opposition parties have called for respect of the constitution, which leaves it to the president of the National Assembly to ensure an interim government. However, a statement attributed to the National Assembly president on Wednesday said he supported the decision to bypass him and instead appoint the military council to lead the transition.

Opposition parties have called for respect of the constitution, which leaves it to the president of the National Assembly to ensure an interim government. However, a statement attributed to the National Assembly president on Wednesday said he supported the decision to bypass him and instead appoint the military council to lead the transition.

Though he led an oil-producing country, critics denounce Deby for using proceeds toward his military and weapons rather than aid for Chadians.

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