Human Rights Watch (HRW)

The Chadian government has failed to take any responsibility for its security forces’ abusive use of force against peaceful protesters in the capital N’Djamena on October 2, 2021, Human Rights Watch said today. The right to peaceful protest came under attack almost immediately after Chad’s Transitional Military Council (Conseil militaire de transition, or CMT), took over in April and imposed a ban on demonstrations.

The CMT, led by Gen. Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, took control of Chad on April 20, after his father, then-President Idriss Déby Itno, reportedly died during clashes between rebels and government forces. The council announced that it would govern Chad for an 18-month period, which may be renewed once, during which it would organize an inclusive national dialogue, then restore civilian rule through elections. That series of nationwide discussions is expected to start in November or December and culminate in presidential elections between June and September 2022.

“Six months after the Transitional Military Council came to power, civic space continues to be largely closed, peaceful protests are still violently repressed, and security forces enjoy impunity,” said Ilaria Allegrozzi, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The CMT should end its assault on dissenters and protesters and ensure that security forces implicated in rights abuses are held accountable.”

The CMT should stop security forces’ use of excessive force against peaceful protesters and ensure justice for victims of security force violence, including opposition figures.

In April and May hundreds of members and supporters of opposition parties and civil society organizations united under the Wakit Tamma coalition to protest the ban and demand a transition to civilian rule. Joined by many Chadians, protests were held across the country. The security forces dispersed protests using excessive force, including live ammunition, and killed at least seven people while injuring dozens. Security forces arrested more than 700 people, several of whom told Human Rights Watch that they were tortured and ill-treated in detention.

Between October 3 and 25 Human Rights Watch interviewed by telephone 11 people who were injured by security forces during the October 2 demonstration in N’Djamena. Human Rights Watch also spoke with two opposition party members, a staff member from a civil society organization, a lawyer, a journalist, an activist, and a physician. To corroborate victims’ accounts, Human Rights Watch obtained and analyzed photographs and videos of protesters’ injuries, in addition to medical records issued by health facilities in N’Djamena.

From June through September the authorities took some positive steps, including recognizing the popular opposition movement Les Transformateurs as a political party. On June 10 the authorities released Baradine Berdei Targuio, a prominent human rights defender arrested in January after he posted a Facebook message about President Déby’s alleged poor health. Thanks to sustained international pressure, the authorities allowed opposition-led demonstrations across Chad during this period.

However, the opposition, including Wakit Tamma, have continued to express concern about the military authorities’ perceived grip on power.

On October 2 hundreds of N’Djamena residents joined members and supporters of Wakit Tamma to protest the CMT’s rule and seek amendments to Chad's transitional charter. Although the authorities had authorized this demonstration, Human Rights Watch found that the anti-riot police – and in one case, gendarmes – fired teargas canisters, rubber bullets, and potentially live ammunition at the protesters, injuring about 40 to 45 people and damaging private property.

Some of those interviewed said that they had either been injured, had seen others injured, or had heard live ammunition. A 34-year-old opposition party supporter who said he was hit by a live bullet said: “I heard many gunshots and before I realized it, I fell on my knees, my trousers were torn, and I was bleeding from my right thigh.”

Human Rights Watch did not have access to images or footage of casings from live ammunition to corroborate whether some of the gunshots were from live ammunition, or if all could have been rubber bullets or other forms of less-lethal weapons. Human Rights Watch has reviewed images of many cartridges from less-lethal weapons including rubber bullets and teargas, collected after the security forces used force against the protesters.

“The police who abused protesters in April are the same who abused us now,” said a 42-year-old local civil society activist injured during the October 2 demonstration. “There has been no justice, no accountability. Those who are in power think they are above the law.”

In an October 2 news release, the public security and immigration minister, Souleyman Abakar Adoum, said that protesters did not follow the authorized itinerary for their demonstration and accused them of “disturbing the public order.” On October 4 Communications Minister Abdraman Khoulamallah said on state television that 12 members of the security forces were injured and 12 of their vehicles damaged by stones thrown by protesters, whom he called “irresponsible” people wanting to start a rebellion. He said that no one was seriously injured except one shop owner. The minister acknowledged that security forces had used teargas, but said that only one person was injured. He did not address the use of rubber bullets and live ammunition.

Contacted by Human Rights Watch on October 14 via email and on October 19 via SMS, the justice minister Mahamat Ahmat Alhabo did not respond.

In a move that raises concerns and risks further fueling the culture of impunity for serious human rights abuses, on October 14, Mahamat Idriss Déby appointed Abdel Kader Mahamat, known as Baba Laddé, former leader of the rebel group Popular Front for Redress (Front Populaire pour le Redressement - FPR), as the new director of Chadian intelligence services. Baba Laddé and his armed group have fought in the Central African Republic since 2018. The United Nations (UN) and national and international human rights groups have documented serious human rights crimes by Baba Laddé’s men there, including rape, killings, and looting.

International law, African human rights law, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, and Chad’s transitional charter enshrine the rights to freedom of expression and assembly, and prohibit excessive use of force by law enforcement officials. Under the United Nations Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms, security forces may use force only in proportion to the seriousness of the offense, and the intentional use of lethal force is permitted only when strictly unavoidable to protect life.

On October 23 Wakit Tamma’s coordinator, Max Loalngar, announced that on November 6 Wakit Tamma will hold a meeting in N’Djamena to let the population know about “its actions in favor of democracy,” and will organize another march for November 13.

“The CMT needs to reverse course in the transition period’s final year and in addition to respecting and protecting Chadians’ right to peaceful protest, should create rights-respecting channels to engage with their concerns” Allegrozzi said. “Failure to do so will only bolster Chad’s culture of violent repression and impunity for abusers.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Human Rights Watch (HRW).

Send us your press releases to

© Press Release 2021

Disclaimer: The contents of this press release was provided from an external third party provider. This website is not responsible for, and does not control, such external content. This content is provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis and has not been edited in any way. Neither this website nor our affiliates guarantee the accuracy of or endorse the views or opinions expressed in this press release.

The press release is provided for informational purposes only. The content does not provide tax, legal or investment advice or opinion regarding the suitability, value or profitability of any particular security, portfolio or investment strategy. Neither this website nor our affiliates shall be liable for any errors or inaccuracies in the content, or for any actions taken by you in reliance thereon. You expressly agree that your use of the information within this article is at your sole risk.

To the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, this website, its parent company, its subsidiaries, its affiliates and the respective shareholders, directors, officers, employees, agents, advertisers, content providers and licensors will not be liable (jointly or severally) to you for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, incidental, punitive or exemplary damages, including without limitation, lost profits, lost savings and lost revenues, whether in negligence, tort, contract or any other theory of liability, even if the parties have been advised of the possibility or could have foreseen any such damages.