Mahamat Idriss Deby, Chad’s new leader, who is also known as General Kaka, was on Tuesday named interim president by a transitional council of military officers, following the death of his father, former President Idris Deby Itno.
Mr Deby, 68 was shot at on Monday while he was leading a battle to push back a rebel insurrection at the country’s southern border.
Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, a 37 years old Lieutenant General was named the new leader of Chad, at the same time, his father’s death was being announced on national TV.
In effect, Mahamat is now head of a 15-member Transitional Military Council (CMT) that will be in force till October 2022 when he is expected to organise fresh elections to usher back democratic governance.
According to a BBC report, President Mahamat Itno “has a reputation for discretion and shunning the limelight, unlike some of his half-brothers.”
But his shy mien does not insulate his toughness as a soldier like his late father.
Interestingly, General Kaka has assumed leadership of the landlocked country just like his father, Deby, at the age of 37.
Late President Deby took over power in 1990 through a violent coup.
President Mahamat Itno was the head of his father’s presidential guard: and also the Directorate-General of the Security Services of State Institutions (DGSSIE).
Those coversant with the power play in Ndjamena, believe General Kaka played “an important role” in perpetuating his father’s reign in the last decade.
The new president was said to be at the frontline when his father got shot in a battle against rebels in the western Kanem Province.
Inside family sources said the new Chadian leader is known “as ‘General Kaka’ because he was brought up by his grandmother. In Chad, Kaka means grandparent.
His military background
President Mahamat Itno has had a considerable military and a rapid rise to the rank of Lieutenant-General. Maybe assisted by his late father, but he is very popular with the troops under his command.
He received military training in Chad in the mid-2000s, and three months of training at the Lycee-Militaire in Aix-en-Provence, France.
A BBC report said General Kaka “took part in operations against Chadian rebel groups, helping to defeat some of them while fighting for his cousin Timane Erdimi in the eastern region in 2009.”
2010, Mahamat Itno got a rapid promotion int he became a general in 2010 when he became the commander of the tpresidential guard’s armoured division.
He became the deputy commander of the Chadian forces in the Mali operation where he alongside the French army, in an operation that stopped a jihadist advance towards Bamako, the Malian capital..