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Several deaths in African state after attack on security agency

The violence in Chad comes just a day after the military government announced elections will be held in May

Several people have been killed in Chad in an armed raid on the National State Security Agency (ANSE), the Sahel nation’s government reported on Wednesday, blaming the incident on the opposition Socialist Party Without Borders (PSF).

The assault was led by PSF leader Yaya Dillo, Chadian Communication Minister Abderaman Koulamallah claimed in a statement, adding that the situation is “now completely under control.”

“The perpetrators of this act have been arrested,” the minister stated, warning that others “are being sought and will be prosecuted in accordance with the law.”

In the same statement, the government announced the arrest of Ahmed Torabi, the finance secretary of the PSF, for allegedly attempting to assassinate Supreme Court President Samir Adam Annour.

READ MORE: That’s so Chad: Another African country looking to ditch Paris for Moscow

According to a Reuters report, heavy gunfire was heard in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena, after the raid on the internal security agency’s headquarters. Security forces also cordoned off the main office of the opposition PSF following the clash, the news agency added, citing a witness.

The coalition’s general secretary told Reuters that soldiers opened fire on a group of party members near the ANSE building. He claimed Torabi, who the government said had been arrested for an assassination attempt, was shot dead on Tuesday.

PSF leader Dillo has also denied any involvement in Wednesday’s armed assault, saying the alleged assassination attempt against the Supreme Court president was “staged.”

The unrest follows the Chadian electoral agency’s announcement on Tuesday that presidential elections would be held in May, with a runoff in June if necessary, to return the former French colony to civilian rule after three years of military control.

Chad’s transitional president, Mahamat Idriss Deby, also known as Mahamat Kaka, and his cousin, Dillo, intend to contest the election. Dillo is regarded as a fierce opponent of Deby, who has run the military government since his father, Idriss Deby Itno, was killed while fighting rebels in 2021 after ruling the landlocked nation for 30 years.

Former colonial power France has been backing Mahamat Kaka since the beginning of his rule, raising widespread concerns. Chad has become the last remaining ally of Paris in the Sahel region after the coup leaders in the West African countries of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger severed military ties with France after coups, accusing it of interference.

February 29, 2024 at 04:00PM

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