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African Summit Focuses on Chad


FILE: Mahamat Idriss Deby raises his hand as he is sworn in as Chad's transitional president, in N'Djamena on October 10, 2022

Eleven leaders from Central Africa gathered in Kinshasa on Tuesday to discuss the troubles in Chad, where dozens were killed last week during protests at the military's grip on power.

The summit of the Economic Community of Central African States is focussing on Chad's "political transition process," ECCAS said in a statement, referring to plans to return the country to civilian rule.

Chad, an ECCAS member, is being represented by Mahamat Idriss Deby, who was appointed "transitional president" by a national forum earlier this month.

The 38-year-old five-star general has been in power since his iron-fisted father, Idriss Deby Itno, was killed in an operation against rebels in April 2021.

The meeting comes days after clashes between Chadian police and protestors in which 50 people died, including a dozen members of the security forces, according to a government toll.

Deby's junta initially vowed to hold elections within 18 months -- a deadline that has now been extended by two years.

The coup leader also once pledged not to be a candidate in the future ballot, but the national forum declared he was entitled to take part.

DRC President Felix Tshisekedi's office, quoting what it described as a "source close to the (ECCAS) organization," said the talks were likely to appoint a mediator in the transition process.

Hopes for national consensus, which had been the purported goal of the Chadian forum, "seem to have shattered," he said.

"The political crisis... has unfortunately revived," the DRC president added.

Thursday's protests had been called by opposition campaigners to mark the date when Chad's junta had promised to hand over power.

But in a televised address late Monday, Deby said a "meticulously prepared insurrection" had taken place with the "support of foreign powers," which he did not name.

But in a televised address late Monday, Deby said a "meticulously prepared insurrection" had taken place with the "support of foreign powers," which he did not name.

A Geneva-based NGO, the World Organization against Torture (OMCT), earlier reported at least 80 deaths in a provisional casualty toll in N'Djamena and four southern towns -- Moundou, Doba, Koumra and Bebedjia.

The African Union (AU) and European Union (EU) last week issued statements strongly condemning the crackdown and attacking violation of freedom of speech and assembly.


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