Chad violence causes new political scare for Africa

Friday March 01 2024

Chad's interim President Mahamat Idriss Deby. PHOTO | REUTERS


The eruption of violence in Chad is causing a new scare for Africa, just as it thought existing crises were already a burden.

African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat expressed regrets over the violence in his home country, between Wednesday and Thursday, which led to the killing of several people including an opposition party leader.

The Central African country has been boiling since the army opened fire, killing an opposition member and injuring other people in the capital N’Djamena on Wednesday.

The government said “several people” were killed as the army pushed back activists of the Socialist Party Without Borders (PSF) who attacked the country’s internal security agency after an altercation with a party member.

Read: Chad opposition fear arrest, harassment ahead of referendum

PSF leader Yaya Dillo was among the people killed on Thursday, according to Oumar Kedellaye, state prosecutor at the N’Djamena High Court.


“I learned with deep pain of the tragic death of our brother Yaya Dillo Djerou, president of the Socialist Party Without Borders of Chad,” Faki Mahamat said in a statement on his personal account on X, formerly Twitter.

“I offer my saddened condolences to his family and his party activists. That his soul rests in peace,” he added.

In a statement on the situation, the AU Commission said Faki profoundly regretted the incident and reiterated call for peaceful settlement of disagreements.

“The president of the Commission reiterates the immutable principle of the AU, that of the peaceful settlement of differences and, on this occasion, the imperative need for Chad to reconnect in an authentic way with the inclusive dialogue of all political, social, civil and military forces for a future of stability, democracy and shared prosperity”, the continental body said in the statement.

The government said the attack on the National Agency for State Security (Anse) came after a member of the opposition party, Ahmed Torabi was arrested and accused of an assassination attempt against the president of the country’s Supreme Court.

Read: Chad jails rebels over Deby's killing

Jebren Issa, a Chadian journalist who has covered local politics but is now based in Rwanda, said PSF members and relatives of Torabi swamped the Anse headquarters to retrieve his body when they learned he had also been shot dead and troops opened fire on the group on Wednesday morning.

Chad is located in a volatile area with three of its neighbours, Niger, Central Africa Republic (CAR) and Sudan, all fighting internal crises from coups to wars to general instability. Chad is also technically under a junta.

The attack occurred hours after the country’s election management body announced the organisation of presidential elections – the first in the country since the junta took power in April 2021 after rebels killed the former president in a battle.

Junta leader Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno and Yaya Dillo were expected to run for the two-round election scheduled for May and June with provisional results expected July 7.

According to Libya-based Front for Change and Concord in Chad, known by French acronym Fact, Dillo’s assassination, exactly three years after his mother, was meant to prevent him from running for election. Chadian forces killed Dillo’s mother on February 28, 2021 in an attempt to arrest the politician at his home in N’Djamena.

“That is how the military junta in its madness of grandeur, to validate its dynastic devolution, wants to choose its supporters to accompany it in its supposed presidential election on May 6,” Fact said in a statement saluting the politician’s bravery and sang-froid prior to his assassination.

The group said the crime will not go unpunished.

“Sooner or later, perpetrators will face justice,” Fact said, calling on civilians to say no to the junta without any complacency.