621 people, including 83 minors, have been arrested in Chad since the violently repressed opposition protests that left some 50 people dead on October 20, the public prosecutor in N’Djamena announced Friday.
This is the first time that the authorities have publicly admitted the figure of more than 600 arrests mentioned by several local and international NGOs after these demonstrations against the extension of two years in power of General Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno.
The latter was proclaimed head of state by the military 18 months ago following the death of his father, Idriss Déby Itno, who was killed by rebels on his way to the front line after 30 years of ruling Chad with an iron fist.
Local and international NGOs, have been saying for three weeks that dozens, even hundreds of people were killed in several towns on the day of the demonstration, and then afterwards in “extrajudicial executions”.
However, the government has so far only acknowledged “fifty” deaths by bullets and more than 300 injured on 20 October alone, including “ten killed” among the forces of order.
President Déby, who was extended in office for two years at the beginning of October by a national reconciliation forum boycotted by a large part of the opposition and major rebel groups, has always claimed that the 20 October demonstrators were planning an “insurrection” to overthrow the government.
Since the “events” of 20 October, “621 people have been arrested by the security forces and transferred” to the high-security prison of “Koro Toro”, in the middle of the desert.
And “401 people have been referred to a court under the procedure of flagrante delicto, 220 others to an investigating judge” for investigation, the magistrate added.
Of the total, 83 were referred “to juvenile judges”, he said. The flagrant offences “will be judged as soon as possible”, concluded Mr Wade Djibrine, who gave no other details and answered no questions.