Chadian Military Leader Says Violent Protests An “Insurrection”

Military strongman Gen Mahamat Deby accuses the opposition of corruption and planning to overthrow the military government. The opposition say the military is responsible for the “unprecendented” violence that left 80 dead and hundreds wounded.

The head of the Chadian Transitional Military Council, General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno has used a national address to accuse the opposition of fomenting an “insurrection”, following the violence that broke out Oct 20 and left more than 80 dead and hundreds wounded.

Demonstrations against the delaying of elections turned violent in several towns and cities across the country, including the capital. The violence has been described as “unprecedented” in the country’s history.

“I will not accept that the nation divided, the country fragmented and our unity mortgaged”, the Chadian leader declared on Oct 24, adding the street protests were not peaceful demonstrations but a “long-planned and carefully executed insurrection” by leaders of the country’s opposition parties.

“That is why this government took the necessary conservatory measures, notably the curfew and the suspension of parties involved in the insurrection”, General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno said.

He said he has instructed his transitional government to ensure that the crisis currently hitting the country should be managed within the ambit of justice, transparency and responsibility.

At the beginning of October it was announced that the mandate of the Transitional Military Council (TMC), was being extended for two years. It has been in power since April 2021, when Mahamat Deby’s father Idriss Deby was killed while visiting troops fighting rebels.

General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno condemned the attitude of some opposition parties and civil society groups especially the Wakit Tamma citizen organisation, which he accused of corruption.

“As concerns Wakit Tamma, I have received their leaders on five occasions to demand that they take part in the inclusive and sovereign national dialogue but each time they asked us for assistance in exchange for their participation. I rejected this kind of way of merchandising which does not honour our country”, the military junta leader said.

The opposition puts the death toll at over one hundred with more than five hundred people wounded.

The Prime Minister has also announced the suspension of “all public activities by political parties and civil society organisations” for three months.

“Les Transformateurs” an opposition party has accused the N’Djamena authorities of being responsible for the violence.

Uneasy calm has since returned to the country but security presence in the streets remains high.

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Chief Bisong Etahoben

Chief Bisong Etahoben is a Cameroonian investigative journalist and traditional ruler. He writes for international media and has participated in several transnational investigations. Etahoben won the first-ever Cameroon Investigative Journalist Award in 1992. He serves as a member of a number of international investigative journalism professional bodies including the Forum for African Investigative Reporters (FAIR). He is HumAngle's Francophone and Central Africa editor.

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