Chad Opposition Leader Yaya Dillo Killed in Shooting, Prosecutor Says

N’DJAMENA — Chadian opposition politician Yaya Dillo was killed on Wednesday during an exchange of fire with security forces, state prosecutor Oumar Mahamat Kedelaye said Thursday.

Heavy gunfire was heard Wednesday in the capital N’Djamena near the headquarters of Dillo’s opposition party, a Reuters witness said. Several people had been killed in earlier clashes near Chad’s internal security agency building.

The violence flared amid tensions ahead of a presidential election set for May and June that could return the Central African state to constitutional rule three years after the military seized power.

Calm had returned to the capital by Thursday morning and residents were going back to work, though internet access, which was blocked a day earlier, had still not been restored, the Reuters witness said.

On Wednesday, the headquarters of the opposition Socialist Party Without Borders, led by Dillo, were cordoned off by security forces. But accounts of the incidents given by the government and the party differed.

A government statement said the security agency was attacked by representatives of the party, resulting in several deaths.

Detailing a separate incident, the government said a member of the party, Ahmed Torabi, had carried out an assassination attempt against the president of the Supreme Court, Samir Adam Annour. Torabi was arrested, it said.

The opposition party’s general secretary told Reuters the deaths near the security agency occurred when soldiers opened fire at a group of party members.

He said Torabi had been shot dead on Tuesday and his body was deposited at the agency’s headquarters. On Wednesday morning, party members and Torabi’s relatives went to look for his body at the agency and soldiers shot at them, which resulted in multiple deaths, the general secretary said.

Chad’s Supreme Court in December approved the vote on a new constitution that critics say could help cement the power of junta leader Mahamat Idriss Deby.

Deby’s military government is one of several juntas currently ruling in West and Central Africa, where there have been eight coups since 2020, sparking concerns about a backslide from democracy in the region.

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