Pro-democracy protests in Chad turned deadly amid clashes on Thursday between protestors and security forces.
Newly-appointed Prime Minster Saleh Kebzabo said the protests, which took place in the capital of N’Djamena and several other cities, led to 50 deaths and 300 injuries, according to Reuters. The process of compiling casualties remains ongoing.
The protests centered around frustration over the decision of Chadian President Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno to delay a transition to democracy in the African nation, according to Reuters. Thursday was originally supposed to mark the end of the transitional period.
Chad’s security forces have been accused of killing dozens of protesters in a crackdown on anti-gov’t demonstrations calling for a transition to civilian rule ⤵️
— Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) October 21, 2022
Kebzabo said the protestors “had firearms” and attempted to mount “an armed popular uprising to seize power by force” before highlighting that the “security forces responded only in self-defence,” Reuters reported. Protestors also reportedly set fire to the headquarters of the political party affiliated with Kebzabo and blockaded roads, according to Reuters. (RELATED: Burkina Faso Military Government Overthrown In Coup)
The International Federation for Human Rights and associated organizations in Chad outlined reports of violent repression on the part of governmental security forces involving the use of live bullets along with the arbitrary detention and torture of protestors, Reuters reported.
Four people died outside the U.S. embassy in N’Djamena, the BBC reported. U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price in a statement condemned the violence in Chad and emphasized American support for a peaceful transition to democracy in the country.
The violence also received condemnation from the United Nations and the African Union, according to the BBC. The unrest comes as a broader jihadist threat continues to coalesce in nearby countries including Mali and Burkina Faso.