Political violence erupts in Chad

Violence erupted in Chad this week shortly after the country's elections agency confirmed dates for a May presidential poll, which is supposed to restore democracy after three years of junta rule. Feb. 28 saw an armed attack on the headquarters of the National Security Agency (ANSE), which the government blamed on followers of the Socialist Party Without Borders (PSF), the main opposition party in Chad. The PSF denied the charge. But the following day party leader Yaya Dillo—a vocal critic of ruler Gen. Mahamat Idriss Déby—was killed alongside dozens of the others in a shoot-out with security forces at the PSF headquarters in the capital, N'Djamena.

Déby seized power in 2021 after his father, Idriss Déby, was killed while commanding troops combating a rebel offensive. The younger Déby's regime has received support from former colonial power France, and he has consolidated power by co-opting armed groups and dissidents. Still, Déby’s rule faces resistance from opposition movements, and tensions have grown as his government has allowed Chadian territory to be used as an arms supply corridor for the Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in neighboring Sudan. 

Adapted from The New Humanitarian, March 1