Chad's interim leader Deby confirms plan to run for president

  • World
  • Saturday, 02 Mar 2024

FILE PHOTO: Chad's interim President Mahamat Idriss Deby attends a meeting with Russia's President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia January 24, 2024. Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

N'DJAMENA (Reuters) - Chad's interim President Mahamat Idriss Deby said on Saturday he plans to run in this year's long-awaited presidential race.

Deby's confirmation came at the end of a chaotic week in which opposition politician Yaya Dillo was shot and killed in the capital N'Djamena.

Dillo's death on Wednesday in disputed circumstances has further exposed divisions in the ruling elite at a politically sensitive time as the Central African country prepares for the promised return to democratic rule via the ballot box.

Addressing a crowd of supporters and state officials, Deby announced his candidacy in a speech that made no reference to the recent violence.

"It is ... with a mixture of honour, humility, responsibility and gratitude that I accept this nomination," he said.

Deby initially promised an 18-month transition to elections after he seized power in 2021 when his long-ruling father was killed in clashes with rebels.

But his government later adopted resolutions that delayed elections until 2024 and allowed him to run for president.

On Friday, the government confirmed that Deby's uncle, General Saleh Deby Itno, had been arrested in the wake of Wednesday's events.

Itno had recently defected to Dillo's party, the Socialist Party Without Borders.

"He has now been charged by the public prosecutor and his life is in no danger," government spokesperson Abderaman Koulamallah said, without specifying what charges Itno faces.

The Chadian government has said Dillo was killed in an exchange of gunfire with security forces and has accused members of his party of also attacking the internal security agency.

Chadian rebel group the Front for Change and Concord in Chad (FACT) and the CNRD opposition party have described Dillo's death as an assassination. Analysts say the circumstances are unclear.

(Reporting by Mahamat Ramadane; Writing by Alessandra Prentice)

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