Authorities must act to prevent Chad killings

Amnesty International is alarmed at reports of extrajudicial killings of civilians by armed men in Chad.  The organization has called on the Chadian government to take urgent action to prevent extrajudicial executions in the aftermath of clashes between rebel and government forces. “We have received information that on 6 February at least three men were allegedly executed by members of the Chadian army. The dead bodies of these men were dumped in the river Chari. This morning, their bodies were reportedly picked up by agents of the Chadian administration” said Tawanda Hondora, Deputy Programme Director for Africa at Amnesty International. The identity of the three men is not known but it is thought they belong to the same ethnic community as the armed opposition groups which carried out attacks on the capital, N’Djamena, over the weekend. ”We are extremely concerned that the Chadian authorities are about to start a major witch-hunt against people perceived as belonging to the armed opposition groups,” said Tawanda Hondora. On 6 February, President Idriss Deby insisted the country was now under control. He also claimed that, while some armed groups had fled, others remained in N’Djamena disguised as civilians. 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. “Extrajudicial executions and arbitrary arrests constitute serious human rights violations and are forbidden by Chadian laws and international human rights instruments to which Chad is party. They must be stopped immediately,” said Tawanda Hondora.

 “We urge France to use its influence to encourage the Chadian authorities to investigate these alleged extrajudicial executions and prevent further such killings. The perpetrators must be held criminally responsible.”