Chadian security forces have opened fire on anti-government demonstrators in the country’s
two largest cities are killing dozens of people.
Chadian government spokesman Aziz Mahamat Saleh said 30 people were dead in the capital,
N’Djamena. Organizers of the march, however, placed the toll higher, at 40 on Thursday.
According to an official in the city’s morgue, a further 32 protesters were killed in Chad’s second-largest city, Moundou. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the
sensitivity of the matter, said more than 60 people were wounded.
Police earlier 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.
Among those killed was a Chadian journalist, Narcisse Oredje, who worked for CEFOD radio
and was struck by a bullet.
Hundreds of people took to the streets to mark the date when the military initially promised to
hand over power – a period that has been extended for another two years.
The country has been rocked by a political crisis since longtime President Idriss Deby was killed
on the battlefield in April 2021 while visiting front-line troops.
Mahamat Idriss Deby, his 38-year-old son, was then installed by the military as interim
president. He had initially promised not to take part in elections that would follow an 18-month
transition to civilian rule but as the deadline neared, a nationwide forum staged by Deby reset
On October 1, it approved a new “maximum” 24-month time frame for holding elections. It also
named Deby “transitional president” and declared he could be a candidate in the poll. Deby
was sworn in on October 10 and later appointed a so-called government of national union
headed by Prime Minister Saleh Kebzabo.
Political analyst Ovigwe Eguegu told Al Jazeera that while many people desperately wanted a
return to civilian rule they feared the military would continue to hang onto power.
“There’s real concern about the military extending its rule and continuing these violations of
human rights,” Eguegu said.
Demonstrators shout out slogans during a protest in Damena on October 20, 2022. – Clashes
erupted in the Chadian capital N’Djamena between police and hundreds of demonstrators at a banned march over the ruling junta’s grip on power, The country has been rocked by a political
crisis since longtime President Idriss Deby was killed The headquarters of Kebzabo’s UNDR
the party was also attacked by demonstrators “and partially burned down”, UNDR Vice President
Celestin Topona said.
There were also reports of barricades being set up in several districts and tyres being set alight
in the main avenues to block traffic.
Security forces have cracked down on several civil society and opposition-led protests
denouncing the military takeover and France’s backing of the transitional government, at times
killing people in the crackdown.