Tensions Rise as Chad’s Interim President Declares Candidacy

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In a political development over the weekend, Chad’s interim President, Mahamat Idriss Deby, officially declared his candidacy for the upcoming presidential race.

This announcement comes amidst a turbulent week marked by the tragic shooting of opposition politician Yaya Dillo in the capital city of N’Djamena.

The circumstances surrounding Dillo’s death, occurring last Wednesday, have heightened political tensions within the ruling elite of Chad, especially as the country is on the brink of a significant transition to democratic rule through imminent elections.

President Deby made the formal announcement of his candidacy during a speech, addressing a gathering of supporters and state officials.

Notably, his speech made no direct reference to the recent violent events. Despite initially pledging an 18-month transition to elections when he assumed power in 2021 following his father’s death, Deby’s government later postponed the elections until 2024, allowing him to stand for the presidency.

In the aftermath of Wednesday’s events, the Chadian government confirmed the arrest of President Deby’s uncle, General Saleh Deby Itno, who had recently defected to Yaya Dillo’s party, the Socialist Party Without Borders.

Although charged by the public prosecutor, the government clarified that Itno’s life is not in jeopardy but refrained from specifying the charges. The government’s account attributes Dillo’s death to an exchange of gunfire with security forces, accusing members of his party of attacking the internal security agency.

However, the Chadian rebel group Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) and the CNRD opposition party have labeled Dillo’s death an assassination, underscoring the unresolved circumstances surrounding the incident.

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