Mohamed Idriss Déby was announced as the new leader of Chad, after his father, Idriss Déby, was killed during clashes with rebels in the north of the country.
Muhammad now heads the 15-member Transitional Military Council and will hold power for the next 18 months.
Unlike some of his half-brothers, Muhammad enjoys a good reputation and does not like the limelight, even though he is a veteran soldier like his father.
Mohammed is 37 years old, the same age as his father when he took power in a military coup in 1990.
Rapid rise in the army
Until his father’s death, he headed the elite forces in the Presidential Guard, and played an important role in securing Idriss Déby’s grip on power.
Muhammad was also a member of the family of the late president who held high positions in the government.
He was reportedly on the front line when his father was wounded during a battle against the rebels in western Kanem province.
Mohamed is known as “General Kaka” or “Kaka” in the Chadian language because he was raised by his grandmother.
Muhammad held several positions in the army, which qualified him to rapidly rise within the military establishment. He first received military training in Chad in the mid-2000s, and then underwent a three-month course at the Lycee Militaire School in France.
He participated in military operations against Chadian rebel groups, and helped defeat some of them while fighting with his cousin Timan Erdimi in the Eastern Province in 2009.
Muhammad attained the rank of major general in 2010, when he took command of the armored division in the Presidential Guard.
In 2013, he was appointed deputy commander of the Chadian forces in Mali, where he participated in the battles alongside the French army, and the jihadists’ advance towards the capital, Bamako, was stopped.
“It is not easy to seize a terrorist haven like this,” he said at the time, “but we realize that this is just one battle in a war.”
A year later, he joined the elite forces of the Presidential Guard.
The recent wave of rebel violence, sparked by his father’s attempt to continue to rule for a sixth term, is a test of Muhammad’s political legitimacy and military capabilities.
The Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) intends to intensify its military operations against the “monarchy” of Muhammad after his father was killed by the fighters of the Front.
The RUF’s apparent victory with the death of Déby could encourage other rebel groups, which have long been contained in the far northern regions of Chad and neighboring Libya, to resume their activities to overthrow the government in N’Djamena and undermine Muhammad’s young leadership.
What do others say about him?
The local state radio said of him, “Mohamed Déby is not a stranger to Chadians, as he started his military career at the Hajjah Mia Officers School in Chad. “.
“Observers familiar with the situation in Chad are unanimously interested in Major General Mohamed Déby, who is described as a war veteran, who was in Mali to fight the supporters of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,” the private Chad Convergence website said.
Speaking about General Mohamed Deby, the French journal “Jean Afrique” said in April that he refused to describe him as his father’s son and he was Idriss Deby’s reliable envoy in the field of security and military affairs.
“The president brought him into contact with senior Chadian dignitaries and allied officers. That was his way of training him in power. He always preferred to work in the shadows as he was a secret envoy to the president and he was not a fan of the limelight,” according to the journal specializing in African affairs.