Prominent Chad opposition members arrested

Four prominent members of the Chadian opposition have been arrested by security forces in N’Djamena. The whereabouts of Lol Mahamat Choua, Ngarlejy Yorongar, Ibni Oumar Mahamat Saleh, and Wadel Adbelkader Kamougué remain unknown since their arrest on Sunday.

Amnesty International has received information suggesting they may be detained at the city’s presidential palace. No legal justification has been given by the authorities for their arrest. A spokesperson at the Presidency told Amnesty International on Tuesday that “they can not confirm whether these four people have been arrested.”

A spokesperson for Amnesty International said that the men are at grave risk of being tortured or forcibly disappeared. Tawanda Hondora, Deputy Director of Amnesty International’s Africa Programme, said that the Chadian government must immediately reveal what has happened to the four men and why they have been arrested.

“They must also inform their families and legal representatives of their whereabouts. They should then either charge them with a recognizable criminal offence or release them immediately.

“The Chadian government seems to be using the current conflict with the armed opposition as a cover for arresting people peacefully opposed to government policy,” said Hondora.

Fighting erupted in the Chadian capital N’Djamena on Sunday after members of the anti-government military alliance gathered around the city on Friday. The armed opposition surrounded the presidential palace when they stormed into the capital. Two days of fighting in the capital followed, ending when the armed opposition forces withdrew.

Fighting also broke out in the eastern part of the country, along the border with Sudan. Chad’s military claimed on Sunday that it had beaten back an attack on the town of Adre by a mixed force of Sudanese army troops and allied armed groups and militia.

The escalation of the long-running conflict between the Chadian government forces and armed groups came as EU forces (EUFOR) were beginning to be deployed to Chad to protect civilians in the eastern part of the country.