The Chadian opposition is in shock after the crackdown

The Chadian opposition is in shock after the crackdown


Some have fled or gone into hiding, while others fear their party’s now-deserted headquarters.

More than a month after a crackdown on anti-junta protesters that left scores dead and sparked an international outcry, dissidents in Chad remain shocked and confused.

“People are traumatized,” said Gabin, a 30-year-old member of the Transformers party, which helped organize the Oct. 20 protest that was bloodily crushed.

“They’re still being hunted. They’re afraid to even go outside the Transformers building, afraid of being arrested.”

Transformers leader Succes Masra told AFP on November 10 he had fled to an unnamed country and said he was wanted by the Presidential Guard – Chadian leader General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno’s elite force.

On the same day, Max Loalngar of the opposition group Wakit Tamma said he was hiding “somewhere” in Chad to avoid arrest.

Opposition groups had called for demonstrations on October 20 to mark the date when the ruling military originally promised to step down from power – a deadline that Deby has now extended by two years.

The 38-year-old succeeded his ironclad father Idriss Deby Itno, who ruled for 30 years before dying in an anti-rebel operation in April 2021.

– Damn toll –

According to the official version of events, around 50 people, including a dozen members of the security forces, died after the opposition organized an “uprising” in the capital N’Djamena and several other cities.

But Transformers and Wakit Tamma say dozens more were killed and at least 300 injured when security forces opened fire on protesters.

Between 1,500 and 2,000 people have been arrested, according to the parties, who say there have also been extrajudicial killings – a claim authorities say is not supported by any evidence.

On November 4, a UN-mandated report estimated that between 50 and 150 people had died, 150 to 184 had “disappeared”, 1,369 were arrested and between 600 and 1,100 had been “deported” to Koro Toro. a high-security prison in the desert some 600 kilometers from the capital.

Last Friday, N’Djamena prosecutor Moussa Wade Djibrine said 621 people, including dozens of minors, had been taken to Koro Toro.

The African Union, the European Union and Amnesty International have condemned the crackdown.

– Memories –

Traces of the October 2 violence are still visible in the capital’s Abena district, where the Transformers headquarters are located.

There are remains of burnt tires and some buildings have been looted or set on fire.

The party offices themselves are empty, their doors padlocked by neighbors to deter intruders, although the windows are smashed.

Neighborhood shops, bars and hairdressers have reopened but appear less busy, and people are rushing to get home ahead of a night curfew announced on the day of the clashes.

“Since October 20, security has been going from house to house picking everyone up,” Loalngar said over the phone.

“Every morning dead bodies” are fished out” from the Chari River in N’Djamena “and others are buried in the desert,” he said, repeating allegations circulating on social media that cannot be corroborated.

An activist, who asked not to be identified, said police seized a list of phone numbers in the Transformers building.

“They called us, posing as a travel agent and trying to set a trap for us,” he said.

Nouba Nadjilem said her family had not heard from her 15-year-old brother, who went out on October 20 “just to buy sugar”.

A woman, who gave her name as Marie-Therese, a 50-year-old cleaning lady, said her nephew was picked up “with some of his friends outside (his) house” and that his family also had no idea what happened to him become.

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