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Chad’s capital echoes with gunfire amid government accusations of opposition incitement for unrest

Chad’s capital echoes with gunfire amid government accusations of opposition incitement for unrest

After many people were murdered in earlier clashes near the nation’s internal security agency, heavy gunfire was heard in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad, near the headquarters of an opposition group, a Reuters witness reported on Wednesday.

Tensions are high in Chad capital ahead of a presidential election scheduled for May and June, which might restore constitutional authority to the Central African state, which was overthrown by military rulers three years prior.

The witness stated that security personnel had blocked off the opposition Socialist Party Without Borders’ offices after many fatalities in a fight close to Chad’s internal security agency.

The party’s and the government’s versions of the occurrence, however, were different.

According to a government statement, the opposition party’s leaders, Yaya Dillo, attacked the agency, causing multiple fatalities.

The government described a different incident in which it said that Ahmed Torabi, a party member, had attempted to kill Samir Adam Annour, the president of the Supreme Court. It reported that Torabi was in custody.

The general secretary of the opposition party told Reuters that party members were shot by soldiers near the security agency, resulting in their deaths.

According to him, Torabi was shot on Tuesday and his body was left in the agency’s main office.

The general secretary added that as party members and Torabi’s family arrived at the agency on Wednesday morning to search for his body, soldiers opened fire on them, killing several of them.

He claimed he couldn’t get in touch with Yaya Dillo. Dillo was not reachable by Reuters either.

The administration declared that everything was under control and indicated that those responsible for the disturbances had either been apprehended or were being sought out.

According to a diplomat, the situation seems to be under control and is centred on the opposition party for the time being, but they are keeping an eye out in case it reveals internal conflicts within the security services.

Following claims of an attack on the security agency headquarters, internet connectivity in Chad was blocked on Wednesday, according to internet watchdog Netblocks on X.

The vote on a new constitution, which critics claim might strengthen the influence of junta leader Mahamat Idriss Deby, was approved by Chad’s Supreme Court in December.

There are currently multiple juntas in power in West and Central Africa, including his military administration. Since 2020, there have been eight coups in the region, raising fears of a democratic backslide.