Dozens of Protesters Shot Dead by Security Forces in the Capital City of Chad
At least 50 people have died and many others have been hurt in the clash between security personnel and protesters on Thursday, October 20. According to Saleh Kebzabo, the prime minister of Chad, this incident emanated when security forces violently dispersed protesters who were agitated and demanding a quicker transition to democratic rule in the capital city of N’Djamena.
In some parts of N’Djamena, palls of black smoke could be seen, and tear gas grenades could be heard cracking during most of the day. Most stores shuttered their doors to prevent looting, and several routes were blocked with barricades and burning tires.
The death toll was announced by Kebzabo at a press conference when he asserted that security personnel were acting in self-defense.
According to Kebzabo, who also served as the leader of the National Union for Democracy and Renewal (UNDR) party before being appointed as prime minister last week after his predecessor resigned, “What happened today is an armed popular uprising to seize power by force, and those responsible for this violence will face justice. The demonstrators had firearms and they were considered rebels.”
More Insight on the Shooting of Protesters in Chad…
Earlier, a representative for the administration said that 10 police officers were also killed. Reporters were informed by UNDR Vice-President Celestin Topona that demonstrators had attacked and set fire to the UNDR party headquarters.
Since the president of Chad, Idriss Déby, unexpectedly passed away in April 2021 while visiting troops battling insurgents, the country has been in disarray. There has been opposition to a transitional military council led by Mahamat Idriss Déby, the late president’s son, who took over the enormous country of central Africa after the president’s death and postponed elections until October 2024.
Late president Idriss Déby ruled the poor desert nation with an iron fist for three decades. This has prompted critics to call for a quicker return to democracy and a change in leadership.
The protest, which took place on Thursday in N’Djamena despite a government prohibition, was called to commemorate the day the military first pledged to cede power. One of the casualties was a local journalist who was shot and later passed away from his wounds. The Chadian Red Cross reported that ten teams had been sent out to offer first aid and transport “dozens” of injured individuals to hospitals.
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The leader of the Transformers Party, Succès Masra, said from the capital that a significant number of people had died. “I call on the international community to intervene to protect the Chadian people. They killed so many protesters today. My team has been counting them. Some of them are in the south, and many are here in the capital.”
One protester claimed to have seen 30 people shot, some of whom had died. The protester, who wished to remain unnamed, claimed, “We took to the streets today to protest peacefully, but plain-clothed armed forces started shooting at us. I counted 30 people injured. Some of them are already dead. They lost a lot of blood.”
“We are seeing the military junta clinging on to power very strongly [in Chad],” said Enrica Picco, the International Crisis Group’s director for Central Africa. The opposition and civic society do not yet possess the power to overthrow them. There will be increasing repression, which could eventually cause destabilization.
According to experts, the unrest in Chad highlights the serious political issues that the unstable Sahel area is experiencing. In recent years, there have been a number of coups d’état in important states as governments battle rising extremist violence and significant societal issues.