Chad opposition leader killed in foiled state attack


Chad's interim President Mahamat Idriss Deby. PHOTO | REUTERS

What you need to know:

  • Local media reports indicate government forces had killed opposition leader Yaya Dillo.

Several people, including a top opposition leader, were on Wednesday killed following an overnight attack on Chad’s internal security agency in the capital N’Djamena.

The government blamed the attack on the opposition.

Chadian Minister for Communication Abderaman Koulamalla said in a statement that the attack on the National Agency for State Security (ANSE) was carried out by members of the Socialist Party Without Borders (PSF), opposition party led by Yaya Dillo.

Later, local media reports indicated the forces had killed Dillo even though the government itself did not immediately confirm it.

Tchad One, a local independent news outlet, reported the “assassination” of Dillo and later high “palpable tensions” in the capital N’Djamena as forces hunted for more opposition figures.

The news outlet also reported that Gen Saley Deby, a close relative of the Chadian junta leader Mahamat Deby, was being hunted down to "surrender”.

Later, Saley was arrested and “taken to the presidency”, it reported. Saley had joined the PSF earlier in February, having left the ruling junta.

The attack by the opposition earlier had led to “several deaths”, the government statement said adding that “further details would be communicated later”.

The government also said the attack on the intelligence agency came after a member of the opposition party was arrested and accused of an assassination attempt against the president of the country’s Supreme Court.

Sources indicated that relatives of the arrested opposition member whose name was given as Abakar Trabi, and other members of the party swamped the ANSE headquarters when they learned Trabi had also been shot dead and troops opened fire on the group on Wednesday morning.

The government said the “situation is now totally under control”, after defense and security forces intervened.

It further said that "the perpetrators of this act have been arrested or are being sought and will be prosecuted".

The attack comes a day after the country announced it will organise a two-round presidential election over May and June with provisional results expected July 7. Both junta leader, Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno and Dillo, were expected to contest in the election.

Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno took power in Chad after his father, Idriss Deby Itno, who led his country’s troops to a battle against rebels in 2021, days after winning a sixth term in an election boycotted by the opposition, extending his 30-year rule.

His military government is one of several juntas currently ruling in West and Central Africa.