Friday, February 8, 2008

Chad: For Déby government, time for reprisals?

From IRIN:

In N’djamena, conditions are returning to normal with corpses being cleared away and shops reopening their shutters, although the government has imposed a curfew from 20.30-06.00.

However, a claim by Chad’s President Idriss Deby in comments to journalists on 6 February that some of the rebels who launched the attack had snuck back into N’djamena and crossed into Cameroon has raised fears that civilians may be targeted in the wake of the fighting.

Tawanda Hondora, Deputy Africa Director at Amnesty International, said in a statement on 7 February that the Lo ndon-based human rights watchdog is “extremely concerned” that the Chadian authorities are “about to start a major witch-hunt against people perceived as belonging to the armed opposition groups”.

Amnesty’s statement said it had received information of the Chadian army executing members of the same ethnic community which is believed to have carried out the attacks on N’djamena, dumping the bodies in the Chari River.

“Amnesty International has received information suggesting that the Chadian army will continue to carry out illegal arrests of civilians and members of civil society including journalists and human rights defenders,” the statement said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), which is liaising with prisoners of war in Chad, has confirmed in a separate statement that several members of the civil opposition in N’djamena were arrested in the wake of the weekend’s attacks.

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