Two dead, 27 injured as Chadian protesters demand civilian rule


At least two people were killed and 27 injured in Chad on Tuesday as protesters took to the streets to demand a return to civilian rule after the military took control after the death of President Idriss Deby last week.

Tensions mounted in Chad after Deby’s death and the military transition is struggling to win over a population exhausted by 30 years of monolithic and autocratic rule.

A health official at a hospital in the capital N’Djamena, who requested anonymity, confirmed the death of a man in his 20s who was taken to the emergency room with 27 others injured in Tuesday’s protests .

Witnesses also reported the death of another protester in Moundou, the second largest city in Chad.

A spokesperson for the ruling military council said security forces were trying to contain the protesters while limiting property damage.

The military council seized power after Deby’s death while visiting troops fighting the rebels on April 19.

Some opposition politicians have called the military takeover a coup and called on supporters to protest, even as the military appointed a civilian politician, Albert Pahimi Padacke, prime minister of a transitional government. L8N2MJ344

The military council banned protests in a statement Monday evening, saying no protests that could lead to disorder were allowed while the country was still in mourning.


Led by Deby’s son Mahamat Idriss Deby, who has been declared president, the military council has announced that it will oversee an 18-month transition to elections.

“We don’t want our country to become a monarchy,” said Mbaidiguim Marabel, a 34-year-old protester. “The soldiers must return to the barracks to make way for a civilian transition.”

Trucks loaded with soldiers were seen patrolling the streets of central N’Djamena.

“The police came, they fired tear gas. But we are not afraid,” said Timothy Betouge, 70.

Police responded with tear gas as protesters burned tires in several neighborhoods in N’Djamena early Tuesday. A Reuters witness said firefighters were struggling to contain a blaze large enough to be seen from a distance.

The council is under international pressure to hand power over to civilians as soon as possible. The African Union has expressed “grave concern” over the military takeover, while France, the former colonial ruler, and some of Chad’s neighbors are pushing for a civil-military solution.

Anti-French sentiment was high among the demonstrators, who accused France of supporting the Deby regime against the will of the people. Social media posts showed protesters burning a French flag.

Reuters journalists in N’Djamena have been repeatedly reprimanded by protesters who assumed they were French and told them to “return to France”. Journalists saw companies with French connections, such as a Total gas station, being targeted by protesters.

Deby’s death came as the Chadian military battles an insurgency by rebels based in Libya, known as the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT). The rebels came as close as 200-300 km (125-185 miles) from N’Djamena before being driven back by the army.

Chad’s military council on Sunday rejected an offer by the rebels for peace talks, calling them “outlaws” to be hunted down and arrested for their role in Deby’s death. L8N2MI0LQ

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