Tensions ease in Chad after day of violent protests

Tensions ease in Chad after day of violent protests

People in Chad's capital N’Djamena on Thursday protested the military's grip on power
People in Chad's capital N’Djamena on Thursday protested the military's grip on power. Photo: - / AFP
Source: AFP

Tensions eased in Chad on Friday following a day of unprecedented violence at protests that left around 50 people dead across the country.

Chad's government had on Thursday announced an overnight curfew after the deadly clashes between police and demonstrators protesting the military's grip on power.

Chadian Prime Minister Saleh Kebzabo put the official toll at around 50 dead, saying most fatalities occurred in N'Djamena and the cities of Moundou and Koumra, while more than 300 people were injured in the violence.

Kebzabo also announced the suspension of "all public activity" of major opposition groups, including the Transformers party and civil society coalition Wakit Tamma.

In the southern districts of the capital, where most of the clashes took place, there was a relative calm on Friday morning, though debris from burnt tyres and the remains of makeshift street barricades littered the streets.

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Law enforcement officers, some of them hooded, were seen sitting in vehicles to deter further protests.

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In Chagoua, south of the capital, women wearing yellow waistcoats and carrying brooms and pickaxes cleaned the streets, while bus services gradually resumed.

Local resident Suzanne Chamnone, 50, whose home is next to the headquarters of Kebzabo's party, the National Union for Development and Renewal (UNDR), said that on Thursday she "saw the people gathered and I went home out of fear with my children. They threw stones and set fire to the (party) premises".

'Killing our people'

The violence came on the heels of a national forum organised by military strongman Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno that extended his stay in power.

The 38-year-old five-star general took over in April 2021 after his iron-fisted father, Idriss Deby Itno, in power for three decades, was killed during an operation against rebels.

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The younger Deby has since angered many at home and embarrassed backers abroad by staying in power beyond his initially promised deadline, which would have expired on Thursday.

"They're firing on us. They are killing our people," Succes Masra, whose Transformers party was among groups that had called the protest, said on Twitter Thursday.

The United Nations said it "deplored the lethal use of force" and called for an investigation into reported human rights violations.

The African Union and the European Union have also condemned the repression of the protests.

"This was a declaration of war against our party. A group of about 100 people came with tyres and petrol. We were in the minority," said UNDR activist Nestor Nahor, 40, who witnessed the looting at the party's headquarters in the 7th district of N'Djamena.

Access to the internet was disrupted in the south of the city on Friday.

Source: AFP

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