AFRICA/CHAD - One week after the death of an opposition figure: calm appears to have been restored in N'Djamena

Tuesday, 5 March 2024 military   violence  

N'Djamena (Agenzia Fides) - In N'Djamena, capital of Chad, there is apparent calm a few days after the assassination of Yaya Dillo, leader of the opposition party PSF (Socialist Party Without Borders). Dillo was killed on February 28 in an army attack on the headquarters of the party of which he was leader (see Fides, 29/2/2024)
"The city appears to be quiet, but is guarded by military and police patrols," local sources tell Fides. "The checkpoints are reinforced, especially at night. We encountered no fewer than six checkpoints on a 7km stretch last night." "Even telephone and internet connections are sometimes interrupted and then restored, as happened yesterday. The internet connections have been reactivated, but we notice that their speed has decreased compared to before," the sources added. "All of this is happening while the population lives in a mix of fear and bitterness about what is happening."
The government claims that Dillo was killed in the army's attack on the PSF headquarters because he refused to surrender and hand himself over to authorities who accused him of being involved in the attack on the security services headquarters, to free a high-ranking party member who in turn was accused of trying to assassinate the President of the Supreme Court (see Fides, 28/2/2024).
Instead, the PSF spokesman claims that Dillo was killed in an arbitrary execution, shot in the head at close range.
Meanwhile, interim Prime Minister Succès Masra, who is abroad, promised an international investigation into Dillo's killing.
The party's headquarters have since been razed to the ground, raising suspicions that an attempt was made to conceal how the clashes began.
"The fate of current President Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno's uncle, General Saleh Déby Itno, who joined the ranks of the PSF and was arrested on February 28, remains uncertain," the sources said. Meanwhile, independent analysts have noted that the conflict is between the president's clan (Yaya Dillo was a cousin of the current president) and the Zaghawa ethnic group. The latter lives between eastern Chad and Sudanese Darfur, and it is no coincidence that, according to observers, "immediately after the attack on the PSF headquarters, rumors began to circulate about an armed column from eastern Chad on the way to N'Djamena, which later turned out to be false". A "fake news" that is indicative of the climate in which the country finds itself in the run-up to the election campaign for the first round of the presidential elections on May 6th. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 5/3/2024)