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Leader of Chad’s Junta Deby Itno declares that he will run for presidency

Chad’s current junta leader, President Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno has declared that he will be running for elections, planned to be held on the 6th of May this year. 

He is currently the interim President and has been so since his father died fighting rebels in 2021. Prior to his death, his father ruled the country for over three decades.

Deby Itno initially promised a return to civilian rule and elections within 18 months of his fathers death. However, he later extended the transitional period to over 18 months. This resulted in protests that were brutally repressed by his adminstrations in October 2022, leaving dozens killed. 

The Death of Opposition Leader - Yaya Dillo 

This announcement comes days after his election rival was killed in unclear circumstances earlier this week. His prime rival, Yaya Dillo, was the leader of the opposition Socialist Party Without Borders (PSF), and is Deby Itno’s cousin. This leaves the current President’s re-election campaign effectively unchallenged. Chad’s prosecution has claimed that Dillo died during an exchange of fire between security forces at the PSF headquarters in N’Djamena, the capital of Chad. 

The exchange of fire occured after there was an attack on the country’s internal security agency building, where multiple people were killed. Chadian authorities blamed the PSF - and Dillo - for this attack, thereby prompting the exchange of fire which took place at the party’s headquarters. The PSF claims that the soldiers shot Dillo dead in an “execution” whereas Chadian authorities claim that Dillo “opposed his arrest” and openly fired on security forces. 

International Community 

The international community has expressed its deep concern regarding this level of violence prior to an election. The European Union put out a statement on Saturday saying “These events undermine the efforts needed to ensure a transparent, pluralist, inclusive, and peaceful transition.” 

In addition, the Human Rights Watch has called for an independent, foreign-backed investigation into the death of the opposition leader. The director of Central Africa at Human Rights Watch said “The circumstances of Yaya Dillo’s killing are unclear…his violent death highlights the dangers facing opposition politicians in Chad…” 


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