Chad declares emergency in east after ethnic killings

The state of emergency will run for three months in Sila and Ouaddai regions where 50 people have died since August 9.

    Chad declares emergency in east after ethnic killings
    Idriss Deby blames influx of weapons from conflict zones in neighbouring countries for the ethnic violence [File:Reuters]

    Chad's President Idriss Deby has declared a state of emergency in two eastern provinces after dozens of people were killed in intercommunal clashes earlier this month.

    The state of emergency will run for three months in Sila and Ouaddai regions where 50 people have died since August 9 in fighting between cattle herders and settled farmers, the president's office said on Sunday.

    "From now, we will deploy military forces who are going to ensure the security of the population in the region," Deby said while on a trip to Sila.

    "We must disarm all the civilians who have weapons in their hands," he said.

    Eastern Chad is in the grip of a cycle of violence between nomadic camel herders - many from the Zaghawa ethnic group from which Deby hails - and sedentary farmers from the Ouaddian community.

    While drought and population growth have aggravated the conflict, Deby has also blamed the influx of weapons from conflict zones in neighbouring Libya, Central African Republic and Sudan for the upsurge in violence. 

    Chad - Sila and Ouaddai

    Speaking earlier this month, Deby had described the violence as a "national concern," adding: "We are witnessing a terrible phenomenon."

    "Those with guns are not hesitating to shoot the police. We must wage a total war against those who carry weapons and are killing people," he said at the time.

    Legislative elections in Chad are scheduled to take place by the end of the year.

    They have been postponed several times since 2015 as Deby, who took power in 1990, looks to maintain his grip on the country.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies