Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno easily won a sixth term in office, election officials announced late Monday not long after the leader of an advancing rebel group threatening his rule announced making a "strategic withdrawal".
Soldiers were searching for the last of the rebels, army spokesperson Azem Bermandoa Agouna said in a statement read out on national television.
Chadian President Idriss Deby dies after clashes with rebels
Chad's President Idriss Deby Itno (centre) holds hands with his son Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno (right) in N'Djamena on 13 May 13 2013.
Deby had pushed through a new constitution in 2018 that would have allowed him to stay in power until 2033 - even as it reinstated term limits.
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.More news: Signs discouraging travel into B.C. to be posted along Alberta border
The rebels, from a group calling itself Fact (the Front for Change and Concord in Chad), attacked a border post on election day.
The news comes just hours after electoral officials had declared Deby - who has led Chad for more than three decades - the victor of an April 11 presidential election, paving the way for him to stay in power for six more years. Deby appears on course to extend his mandate despite mounting discontent over his management of oil wealth, questions over the fairness of the polls and concerns about a crackdown on dissent.
Deby has faced numerous rebellions during his time in power, most recently in 2019 when French armed forces intervened in northern Chad and launched airstrikes at an armed group coming in from Libya.More news: Three dead in 'active attack' shooting incident in northwest Austin, medics say
"This probably aims to counter any coup-making efforts from within the security establishment and to reassure Chad's worldwide partners [.] that they can still count on the country for its continued contributions to global counter-terrorism efforts in the Sahel". Deby is reported to have been killed on the frontline, where Chad's army is battling northern rebels. "His death disrupt things", a senior regional diplomat told Reuters.
Other analysts pointed to Deby's long history of visiting the battlefield as a former army commander-in-chief himself.
He first came to power in an armed uprising in 1990.More news: Austin shooting leaves at least 3 dead