Human Rights Watch (HRW) on Wednesday, March 9, accused the Chadian army of killing 13 peaceful protesters, including a child during a funeral in the eastern part of the country.
The funeral was conducted for persons killed during inter-communal violence between two communities in January 2022.
On Jan. 24, in Abeche, chief town of Ouaddai province in eastern Chad, natives of Ouaddai protested against the investiture of an elected Arab at a site reserved for their Sultan.
“Soldiers killed at least three persons, including a 12-year-old child, when security forces violently dispersed thousands of peaceful protesters firing live bullets,” Human Rights Watch said in a joint communique with the Chadian Convention for the Defense of Human Rights.
“The army also wounded at least 80 persons on that day and arrested 212 others, some of whom were seriously beaten before being detained for five days under inhumane conditions.”
“The following day, Jan. 25, during the burial of the victims of the previous day, soldiers once again fired live bullets at protesters killing 10 others and wounding at least forty other persons.”
Human Rights Watch says its accusations followed eyewitness accounts by demonstrators and family members of the victims as well as health professionals and the examination of eight videos and 41 photographs.
The international NGO called on the Chadian government to carry out “a profound and impartial investigation on the excessive use of force by the security forces”.
The Chadian government has denied the accusations.
“The army did not shoot at anybody. The army only tried to put order in the violent demonstration where civilians used arms and persons were killed and goods destroyed. The army used proportionate force,” said Abderaman Koulamallah, the Chadian Minister of Communication and government spokesperson in N’Djamena on Wednesday.
“An investigation has been opened to ascertain responsibilities and HRW would do well to wait for the results. The army killed nobody.”
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