N'Djamena (Agenzia Fides) - "We express our regret and our indignation" for the "unjustified violence" against peaceful demonstrators, says the Bishops' Conference of Chad, in the aftermath of the violent repression of the demonstrations on October 20. Hundreds of demonstrators had gathered to protest against the two-year extension of the "transition" of the head of the military junta, Mohamed Idriss Déby. At least 50 people were killed by the police.
Mohamed Idriss Déby took power after the sudden death of his father Idriss Deby on April 20, 2021, commanding the troops against the rebels in the north of the country. Déby's son had suspended the operation of Chadian institutions and had announced that he would take up the position of Head of State for a "transition" period of eighteen months.
But on October 20, as soon as Mahamat Déby had announced an extension of the "transition" for another two years, the demonstrators began to protest in N'Djamena, Sarh, Doba, Koumra, Abéché, Moundou, incurring the brutal repression of the security forces.
In their press release, the Chadian episcopate "notes with pain and bitterness that once again the blood of Chad's daughters and sons gushed out during a demonstration that was intended to be peaceful but which was violently repressed". "We protest vehemently against these violations of human dignity", and the Bishops ask "all political actors and the defense and security forces to give priority, in all circumstances, to sincere dialogue and respect for human dignity and the sanctity of human life". The Chadian Bishops' Conference invites all Christian Catholic communities and institutions, the faithful of Christ, believers, men and women of good will to "pray incessantly for the reconciliation of hearts in order to promote peace in our country".
Formally, the extension of the transition was decided by the Inclusive and Sovereign National Dialogue (see Fides, 5/9/2022), a forum promoted by the regime, but boycotted by opposition parties in which the Bishops' Conference also decided not to participate. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 25/10/2022)