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Buhari says late Chadian President was a great ally in fight against insurgents

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By Samuel Bankole

President Muhammadu Buhari has described the late Chadian President Idriss Deby “as a friend of Nigeria who had enthusiastically lent his hand in our efforts to defeat the murderous Boko Haram terrorists.”

Deby was killed on Tuesday in battle line between Chad soldiers and rebels fighting to take over the country from him.

He was said to have gone on a visit to the troop on the battle line when he was killed.

Nigerian president expressed sadness over “the sudden and tragic death of President Idriss Deby of Chad on the front line, fighting against rebel soldiers.

“I’m deeply shocked and devastated by the sudden death of Idriss Deby on the battle front to defend the sovereignty of his country,” Buhari was quoted as saying by his spokesman, Garba Shehu in a statement.

President Buhari said, “the late Deby had played a very active role in our regional joint collaboration in the military campaign against the Boko Haram terrorists.”

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He described the late Chadian leader “as a friend of Nigeria who had enthusiastically lent his hand in our efforts to defeat the murderous Boko Haram terrorists that have posed grave security challenges not only for Nigeria but also our African neighbours, particularly Chad, Cameroon and the Niger Republic.”

The death of Deby, Buhari said will surely create a big vacuum in the efforts to jointly confront the Boko Haram terrorists and the Islamic State West Africa Province.

While condoling with the people of Chad and their new leader, President Buhari called for greater collaboration to defeat the terrorists.

Deby, a former army officer who seized power and ruled the central Africa nation for 30 years died on Tuesday at the age of 68 from injuries sustained while fighting the latest rebellion in the north of the country.

He died a day after being declared winner of a disputed April 11 presidential election that was boycotted by the main opposition parties.

Recognised as a brilliant military strategist who has been able to survive numerous coup attempts and rebellions, Deby never hesitated to join soldiers on the battlefront in his military fatigues. Last year, he took the title of Field Marshal of Chad.

Deby seized power in 1990, leading a rebel army swathed in desert headgear in a three-week offensive, launched from neighbouring Sudan’s Darfur region to topple Habre, a man accused of instigating tens of thousands of political murders.

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