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Chad President Idriss Deby(Ludovic Marin, Pool via AP)

Chad’s President Idriss Deby has died while visiting troops on the front line of a fight against northern rebels, an army spokesman said on Tuesday, the day after Deby was declared the winner of a sixth term in office.

Deby, 68, “has just breathed his last defending the sovereign nation on the battlefield” over the weekend, army spokesman General Azem Bermandoa Agouna said in a statement read out on state television.

Deby’s campaign said on Monday that he was headed to the frontlines to join troops battling “terrorists”.

Rebels based across the northern frontier in Libya attacked a border post on election day and then advanced hundreds of kilometres south across the desert.

Deby came to power in a rebellion in 1990 and is one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders.