A former rebel leader and candidate in Chad’s upcoming presidential election has said that security forces raided his home in the capital N’Djamena and killed several of his family members.
Yaya Dillo told France’s RFI radio station he was attacked early on Sunday by members of the presidential guard, headed by the son of Chadian President Idriss Deby.
“At 5 in the morning, they attacked my home. The president’s guard… They killed my mom, my son and three [other relatives],” he said.
A government statement said the raid was an operation to arrest Dillo, whom it said failed to respond to two judicial mandates.
It said government forces opened fire after being met with armed resistance. Two people were killed and five wounded in the ensuing fight, including three policemen, it said.
Netblocks, a UK-based service that tracks internet disruptions, reported that internet access in N’Djamena was disrupted on Sunday.
Dillo said his house has been surrounded by government forces since the incident.
⚠️ Confirmed: Internet disrupted in #Chad amid reports of deadly standoff at opposition candidate Yaya Dillo's house; real-time network data show national connectivity down to 60% of ordinary levels from ~9:30 am local time; incident ongoing 📉 #Tchad
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) February 28, 2021
Dillo is a formal rebel leader who fought against Deby in 2006 before joining his government and becoming a minister. More recently, he served as Chad’s representative to the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC).
He is one of 16 people who have announced they will run against Deby in April’s election.
Deby, who has been in power since 1990, pushed through a new constitution in 2018 that reinstated term limits but could let him stay in power until 2033.
Hundreds took to the streets earlier this month to protest his candidacy in the upcoming election.
Deby has faced strikes and protests in recent years over economic woes caused by low oil prices and armed rebellions in the north, but has drawn on his effective control of state media and institutions to maintain political dominance.
Chad is a key ally of Western nations in the fight against armed groups in West and Central Africa.