Tension rises ahead of Chad’s presidential election

APA - Ndjamena (Chad)

The attempted tank arrest of opposition leader Yaya Dillo in the Chadian capital N'Djamena has left several people dead amid tensions ahead of the country's presidential elections.

The operation to arrest him seemed out of a Hollywood movie with the use of heavy artillery last Sunday by the police to nab him. 

Armored vehicles, and vans have been crisscrossing the neighborhood where the ex-rebel leader lives. 

But Dillo and his relatives, put up a fierce resistance that resulted in the death of two people and left five others wounded, three of them security personnel.

In a statement, Cherif Mahamat Zene, Minister of Communication and Government Spokesman claimed “the defense and security forces that came under gunfire from the home where he took refuge did not have another choice than to retaliate in self-defense.” 

He also condemned “with the strongest terms this armed rebellion in the heart of the capital. (This is) just a long-standing attempt to destabilize state institutions.”

In his own version of the incident, Yaya Dillo, who was whisked away from the scene said five people were killed, including his mother and nephew. 

The candidate of the ‘Parti Socialiste Sans Frontieres’ (PSF) in the April 11 presidential election, is the subject of two arrest warrants resulting from a complaint filed in May 2020 by Hinda Deby Itno, Chad’s First Lady.

Mr. Dillo denounced the involvement of Mrs. Deby Itno’s foundation known as ‘Grand Coeur’ in the management of funds earmarked for the fight against the coronavirus. 

He was prosecuted for “libel and insult.”

This is the beginning of trouble for Dillo, a member of the Zaghawa community and nephew to the Chadian head of state. 

On July 6, 2020, the former leader of the rebel ‘Socle pour le développement,l’ unité et la democratie’ (Scud), having tried to overthrow Idriss Deby’s regime, lost his post as ambassador of Chad to the Economic and Monetary Commission of Central Africa (CEMAC) for “lack of neutrality and violation of the right of reservation.”

Following the signing of a peace accord with Ndjamena, Yaya Dillo was previously appointed Secretary of State, Minister of Mines and Energy and then Advisor to the Presidency.

Convinced that “the hour for change has come,” the PSF standard-bearer has already received, according to the local media, support for the presidential election from 13 opposition parties under the umbrella of the ‘Front Nouveau pour le Changement’ (New Front for Change, FNC). 

Fearing for his life, Yaya Dillo called on his fellow citizens to rise up.

In any case, these tragic events have already pushed the leader of the opposition, Saleh Kebzabo, to withdraw from the presidential election.

“The martyrdom of an 80-year-old lady and her 11-year-old grandson has strengthened me in this conviction. I have decided to suspend my participation in the electoral process,” he tweeted on Monday. 

For his part, Succes Masra, another presidential contender has declared that President Deby “must resign immediately.”

Deby, 68, who has been ruling Chad with an iron fist for the last 30 years, is running for a sixth term on April 11. 

The final election results should be announced on May 15 and a possible run-off is scheduled for May 23.


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