Chad Opposition Leader Yaya Dillo Fatally Shot in Gunfire Confrontation

Socialist leader dies after several people shot dead near party headquarters in capital of N’Djamena

Chadian opposition figure Yaya Dillo was reported killed during a clash with security forces, according to state prosecutor Oumar Mahamat Kedelaye.

Witnesses reported heavy gunfire near the headquarters of Dillo’s opposition party in the capital, N’Djamena, on Wednesday. Earlier clashes near Chad’s internal security agency building had resulted in multiple casualties.

The escalation in violence coincides with heightened tensions ahead of the presidential election scheduled for May and June. This election holds the potential to restore constitutional rule to the central African state, three years after a military coup.

Despite the calm returning to the capital on Thursday morning and residents resuming work, internet access, which had been blocked the previous day, remained unavailable.

Security forces had cordoned off the headquarters of the Socialist Party Without Borders, led by Dillo, on Wednesday.

Differing accounts of the incidents emerged from the government and the opposition party. According to the government, representatives of the opposition party attacked the security agency, resulting in multiple fatalities. Additionally, the government alleged that a member of the party, Ahmed Torabi, attempted to assassinate the president of the Supreme Court, Samir Adam Annour, in a separate incident. Torabi was reportedly arrested.

According to the general secretary of the opposition party, deaths near the security agency occurred when soldiers fired upon a group of party members. He claimed that Torabi had been fatally shot on Tuesday, and his body was left at the agency’s headquarters. On Wednesday morning, when party members and Torabi’s relatives sought his body at the agency, soldiers allegedly opened fire on them, resulting in several casualties.

In December, the Supreme Court sanctioned a vote on a new constitution, a move criticized by many as potentially consolidating the power of junta leader Mahamat Idriss Déby. His military regime is among several ruling juntas in West and Central Africa, regions that have witnessed eight coups since 2020, raising concerns about democratic regression in the area.

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