Authorities in Chad declared a nighttime curfew in 3 cities, including the capital N’Djamena, Moundou, Doba and Koumra, a day after banned protests were violently suppressed leading to deaths and injuries.
Associated Press reported Thursday, that security forces opened fire on demonstrators in the country’s two largest cities killing at least 60 people and wounding hundreds.
The protesters demanded the removal of Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno who took over in the wake of his father’s assassination 18 months ago.
On the same day, the first cabinet meeting was taking place. The president did not comment on the country’s deadliest protest in recent years.
His Prime minister announced a night-time curfew until the “total restoration of order”.
Meanwhile, the African Union and the United Nations have condemned the “lethal” use of force on civilians.
“I firmly condemn the crackdown that has caused many deaths in Chad”, AU chair of the commission Moussa Faki Mahamat wrote on Twitter.
The spokesperson of the UN Secretary-General Stephane Dujarric called on the Chadian authorities to ensure the safety and security of civilians.
“We call on the authorities to ensure that the security, safety, and human rights of all Chadians, including the right of freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association, are respected”, the spokesman for the UN chief urged.
“We also call on all parties to refrain from violence or excessive use of force and to remain committed to the spirit of dialogue in the interest of peace and stability in the country”, Stéphane Dujarric added.
According to testimonies by witnesses who spoke to AP, demonstrators began to blow whistles at 3 a.m. all over the capital of N’Djamena.
Police fired tear gas at the crowds, which continued advancing and their numbers grew.
Later on, Chadian police reportedly responded by firing live bullets.
The deaths mainly occurred in N’Djamena and the southern city cities of Moundou and Koumra, the Chadian PM said.
The government spokesman, Aziz Mahamat Saleh, accused the protesters of attacking governmental offices, adding that a banned demonstration turned into an insurrection”.
Over 300 people were wounded and witnesses say some arriving at the hospital bore signs of torture.
The exact death toll remains unknown.
Victims include journalist Narcisse Oredje who was struck by a bullet.
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