Chad opposition chief flees after security operation kills two

Yaya Dillo.
Yaya Dillo. © AFP - Thomas Coex

Chadian opposition figure and presidential candidate Yaya Dillo has fled his home, a day after his residence was the scene of violent clashes which left at least two people dead, including the politician's mother.


Yaya Dillo’s home was surrounded by a strong military presence for several days and the Chadian authorities say an armed group fought back following attempts to arrest the opposition figure. Dillo claimed five members of his family had been killed.

Authorities said security forces were attacked from Dillo’s home. They were carrying a warrant for his arrest, but met resistance. The opposition leader had been planning to contest the country’s April presidential election.

Old foes

Dillo had previously been part of President Idriss Deby’s government, before he led rebel fighting against the Chadian leader in 2006.

The Chadian opposition figure was smuggled out of his house, according to information received by RFI, corroborated by other sources. He was spirited away on Sunday evening during confusion when gendarmes fired tear gas.

The whole district where Dillo lives has been swarming with dozens of vans and armoured vehicles over recent days, with a strong presence of police and the renowned DGSIEE, Deby’s famed presidential guard, RFI French Africa reports.

It is not clear how Dillo slipped such a considerable security apparatus, notwithstanding the murder of his mother and a nephew in violence over the weekend.

Deby strongman

The affair has created tension given both Dillo and Deby’s membership to the same Zaghawa ethnic group. Dillo is also a distant relative of Deby.

The incident comes months before incumbent President Deby is expected to stand in the 2021 elections to extend his rule. Deby came to power in 1990, toppling Hissen Habre. Deby is criticised for repressing the opposition and jailing those who do not agree with him.

He has ruled Chad with an iron fist and has actively intervened in neighbouring countries, the Central African Republic and Mali. He is widely considered a strong ally of France in the region, and winning polls in 2021 would set him up for a sixth term in office.

NetBlocks, an organisation monitoring restrictions to internet freedom, reported on Sunday that internet traffic in Chad had been suspended, stifling communications.


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