AFRICA/CHAD - Shootings in the night in N'Djamena: an opposition leader accused of having attacked the headquarters of the secret services; is the presidential clan tearing itself apart?

Wednesday, 28 February 2024 military   violence  

N'Djamena (Agenzia Fides) - "We heard gunshots in the night but we do not yet know what is happening", local sources tell Fides from N'Djamena, the capital of Chad, who woke up today, February 28, in a state of siege. "Normally, in N'Djamena, there are a lot of soldiers and police, but this morning we were able to see that the presence of patrols and checkpoints has increased significantly", confirm Fides sources.
"What we know is that the dates of the presidential elections were announced yesterday, with a first round on May 6 and a possible second round on June 22. The Socialist Party Without Borders (PSF), the main opposition party, had called a meeting of its leaders to discuss the issue. Today, the finance secretary of the PSF is accused by the government of having plotted an assassination attempt against the president of the Supreme Court and has been arrested ", report Fides sources.
In a press release from the Minister of Communication and government spokesperson, Abderaman Koulamallah, it is indicated that after the arrest of the financial manager of the PSF, "the situation took a dramatic turn with the deliberate attack of his accomplices, carried out by elements of the PSF led by the president of this movement, Yaya Dillo, against the premises of the National Agency for State Security (ANSE, the internal security services), causing several deaths". "The police - the Chadian government press release continues - reacted and effectively to thwart the attack which was characterized by astonishing amateurism. The situation is now completely under control", states the government while "the perpetrators of this act have been arrested or are being sought and will be prosecuted". "We confirm that we heard gunshots during the night, although we are a few kilometers from the ANSE headquarters, but we cannot know with certainty whether what the government press release says corresponds to the entire truth", say our sources, who recall how "the media premises are strictly controlled by the State".
Chad is currently led by President Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, proclaimed transitional president by the army on April 20, 2021, at the head of a junta of 15 generals, after the death of his father Idriss Déby Itno, killed by rebels at the front. He immediately promised to return power to civilians by organizing elections 18 months later, a deadline postponed by two years. With the announcement of the date of the first round of elections on May 6, those wishing to run as candidates must submit their candidacy before March 15, a deadline considered too short by the opposition. Furthermore, the president's family appears divided. One of his uncles, younger brother of his father Idriss Déby Itno, joined the PSF of Yaya Dillo, himself a cousin of the Head of State. It therefore seems that the latest events are due to a rift within the Itno clan which has ruled Chad since 1990. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 28/2/2024)