Chad Opposition Leader Condemns Police Crackdown Ahead of Vote
Chad’s main opposition leader called on supporters to continue protests in the face of a government crackdown, as pre-election tension rose in a country seen as a key U.S. and French ally in the fight against Islamist militants.
Saleh Kebzabo’s call followed a month of demonstrations against President Idriss Deby’s leadership ahead of next month’s presidential poll, culminating Saturday in the arrest of dozens of opposition supporters.
“It’s not through violence we’ll find a solution to Chad’s problem, but through the ballot,” Kebzabo said in a statement posted on his Facebook account Sunday.
Deby is facing growing opposition to his bid for a sixth successive term as Covid-19 infections, last year’s slump in oil prices and armed rebellions in the north of the country stoke popular unrest. Chad, the first country to ask for a restructuring of its external debt under the G-20 common framework in January, is among several central and West African nations fighting Islamist extremists.
In power since 1990, Deby has so far used his control of state media and institutions to maintain control as well as frequent Internet shutdowns. Kebzabo, 73, withdrew this month from the elections scheduled for April 11 after at least two people were killed when security forces raided the home of another opposition candidate.
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