Chad’s President Idriss Deby was killed while visiting troops battling rebels in the country’s restive north on Tuesday. 

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

President Idriss Deby, the son of a herder, had just been elected to his sixth consecutive term as president. He was 68 years old.

Deby was killed in the border region that Chad shares with Libya where Chadian forces were battling Libya-based rebels. The exact circumstances of his death have not been released.

The rebels go by the name of the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT). They had attacked a border post in the provinces of Tibesti and Kanem on April 11, the day of the presidential election, in an attempt to overthrow the government.

They were advancing on the capital, N’Djamena, several hundred kilometers to the south. But on Monday, the rebels suffered a major setback as Chadian military forces claim to have killed 300 FACT rebels and captured 150 more. Chad claims this ended the rebels’ offensive.