The families of the victims of the crackdown on a demonstration against the extension of military rule in Chad, which left more than 100 people dead a year ago, are “still waiting for justice”, Amnesty International deplored on Friday.
On 20 October 2022, police and soldiers opened fire on young demonstrators protesting against the two-year extension of a transition led by the young general Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno. He was proclaimed head of state by the army in April 2021 following the death of his father, who had already ruled the country with an iron fist for 30 years.
“The security forces responded by firing live ammunition at the demonstrators, killing and injuring many people”, wrote the international organisation in a statement marking the anniversary of the demonstration.
“The repression (…) left more than 100 people dead and nearly 1,000 injured”, Amnesty continued, adding: “Although the authorities immediately promised an investigation, all we have seen so far are unfair trials of demonstrators held behind closed doors and the absence of serious investigations into those allegedly responsible for the killings and injuries”.
“It is imperative that the Chadian authorities respect their commitment to justice”, Amnesty wrote.
Propelled to the head of the country on 20 April 2021 by a junta of 15 generals, Mahamat Déby immediately promised to return power to civilians through “free elections” after an 18-month transition period, but 18 months later, at the beginning of October 2022, he extended it by two years.On the 20th of the same month, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets to protest.
The government acknowledged the deaths of around fifty people, but at least 128 died that day, mainly in N’Djamena, according to a national human rights commission.
Huge raids also targeted nearly a thousand young people and opposition leaders, most of whom fled into exile.The government acknowledged the arrest of 621 young people, including 83 minors, all of whom were taken to a sinister prison in Koro Toro, in the middle of the desert 600 km from the capital, where they were tried a month and a half later behind closed doors, without lawyers, and sentenced to prison for “attempted insurrection” for the most part.
On Thursday, the eve of the first anniversary, the government claimed that on 20 October 2022, the demonstrators had “savagely killed” six members of the security forces, including three in N’Djamena.On 8 October, at least 72 young activists and supporters of an opposition party, Les Transformateurs, were arrested in N’Djamena and are being held incommunicado by the government.
On 8 October last, at least 72 young activists and supporters of an opposition party, Les Transformateurs, were arrested in N’Djamena and are being held incommunicado by the government.On 8 October, at least 72 young activists and supporters of an opposition party, Les Transformateurs, were arrested in N’Djamena and are being held incommunicado.