Thursday, 1 December, 2022

At least 60 killed in Chad protests, curfew announced

Chadian security forces opened fire on anti-government demonstrators in the country’s two largest cities Thursday killing at least 60 people, the government spokesman and a morgue official said.

Authorities imposed a curfew after the violence, which came amid demonstrations in the central African nation against interim leader Mahamat Idriss Deby’s two-year extension of power.

Chadian government spokesman Aziz Mahamat Saleh said 30 people were dead in the capital, N’Djamena. Organizers of the march, though, placed the toll higher, at 40.

Another 32 protesters were killed in Chad’s second-largest city, Moundou, according to an official in the city’s morgue. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, said more than 60 people were wounded.

Other protests were held in the towns of Doba and Sarh.

These were the deadliest anti-government protests since Deby took over last year in the wake of his father’s assassination after more than three decades in power. Officials said the late President Idriss Deby Itno was killed by rebels while visiting Chadian troops on the battlefield in the country’s north in April 2021.

At the main reference hospital in N’Djamena, overwhelmed doctors tended to scores of people with gunshot wounds. Some of the wounded were taken to Liberty Hospital by army vehicles and bore signs of having been tortured, witnesses said.

Witnesses say demonstrators began to blow whistles at 3 a.m. all over the capital of N’Djamena. Police fired tear gas at the crowds but the demonstrators continued advancing and their numbers grew. It was then that security forces opened fire, leaving protesters struggling to gather the dead from the scene amid the tear gas.

Among those killed was a Chadian journalist, Narcisse Oredje, who worked for CEFOD radio and was struck by a bullet.