CrisisWatch Chad

Unchanged Situation

Aftermath of death of staunch govt opponent continued to roil internal politics; opposition struggled to mobilise for May presidential elections. 

Tensions remained high after death of President’s cousin Yaya Dillo. Conflicting reports about Dillo, who led Socialist Party without Borders (PSF) and died in security forces shooting late Feb at party headquarters in capital N’Djamena, sparked speculation about his demise and divisions within ruling elite. Govt 1 March insisted Dillo was killed while resisting lawful arrest but opposition same day labelled killing an execution; authorities 1 March reportedly demolished PSF headquarters, potentially eliminating evidence, and although PM Masra 4 March pledged international investigation, much remained unclear.  

Democratic opposition struggled to build political weight against Déby. Ahead of 6 May presidential vote, Constitutional Council 24 March approved ten candidates, and excluded ten others including prominent opponents of military-led govt, notably Nassour Ibrahim Neguy Koursami and Rakhis Ahmat Saleh over “irregularities” in their applications; transitional President Mahamad Déby and recently-appointed PM Masra both cleared to run for office. Earlier, opposition struggled to mobilise behind one figure with some parties supporting Koursami’s candidacy and others that of influential former PM Padacké. 

Security in hinterland remained stable, but sporadic violence persisted. Unidentified gunmen 1 March attacked community radio journalist’s home near Mangalmé town (Guera region), killing journalist and two family members. Inter-communal clashes remained prominent; tensions in Djourf Al-Ahmar department (Ouaddaï region) escalated as Mouro and Birgit communities 17 March clashed as part of decades-long tensions, with govt reporting 42 civilians killed during unrest. Meanwhile, govt 25 March announced explosive device killed seven soldiers near Lake Chad in west, saying they suspected Boko Haram jihadists from Nigeria.

In another important development. In wake of Déby’s Jan visit to Russia, France attempted re-engagement with govt; French President Emmanuel Macron’s envoy Jean-Marie Bockel 7 March reassured Déby about continued presence of French troops, with force crucial for regime stability but unpopular with some political actors and civil society groups. 

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