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But the vote was marred by a rebel offensive launched in the country’s north on election day. The army said Monday it had killed 300 rebels and quashed the offensive.
Deby’s long survival in the region’s brutal politics has made him a reliable figure in the French-led campaign against jihadist insurgents in the Sahel.
Deby is a herder’s son from the Zaghawa ethnic group who took the classic path to power through the army, and relishes the military culture.
Last August, the National Assembly named him field marshal, the first in Chad’s history, after he led an offensive against jihadists who had killed nearly 100 troops at a base in the west of the country.
Dressed in a dark-blue silk cape embroidered with oak leaves, and clutching a baton, Deby dedicated the tribute to “all my brothers in arms.”
As a young man, Deby enrolled at the officers’ academy in the capital N’Djamena before heading to France, where he trained as a pilot.
He returned in 1979 to a country in the grip of feuding warlords.
Deby hitched his star to Hissene Habre and was rewarded with the post of army chief after Habre came to power in 1982, ousting Goukouni Weddeye.
In the following years, Deby distinguished himself fighting Libyan-backed rebels over mountainous territory in the north of the country.
But in 1989, he fell out with his increasingly paranoid boss, who accused him of plotting a coup.
Deby fled to Sudan, where he assembled an armed rebel group, the Patriotic Salvation Movement, which rolled into Ndjamena unopposed in December 1990.