Chad: Authorities must act to prevent extrajudicial executions

The Chadian government must take urgent action to prevent extrajudicial killings in the aftermath of clashes between rebel and government forces earlier this week, said Amnesty International today. The organisation is alarmed at reports it has received of the extrajudicial execution of civilians by armed men, allegedly belonging to the Chadian army.

“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 then 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 that 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 gave a press conference and insisted that the country was now under control, but 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.

On the same day as the alleged extrajudicial executions, speaking in N’Djamena, the French Minister of Defence, Herve Morin, reiterated France’s full support for President Deby.

“Extrajudicial killings and arbitrary arrests constitute serious human rights violations and are forbidden by Chadian laws and international human rights instruments to which Chad is party,” said Tawanda Hondora. “They must be stopped immediately.”

“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.”