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Chad begins national mourning for victims of protests

Chadian junta leader General Mahamat Idriss Déby has declared seven days of national mourning from Tuesday for the dozens of people killed during pro-democracy protests held last week.

Around 50 people died in protests in several parts of the country to demand a return to civilian rule.

In an address on Monday, Gen Déby said the protests were a “well-prepared insurrection” with the “support of foreign powers”.

He accused the demonstrators of having “coldly killed civilians” and “murdered” members of the security forces “in their barracks”, with “the manifest desire to start a civil war”.

The junta leader accused political actors in the country of seeking the support of “foreign powers” to exert pressure on him, but he did not offer details on the foreign powers.

“Outsiders have provided arms and money to opportunistic Chadians who have not hesitated for a moment to destroy the country to satisfy their interests and meet foreign agendas,” Gen Déby said.

Last week’s protests took place on the day when President Déby was originally intended to step down, but a meeting earlier this month extended his rule for another two years.

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He was named president by the military in 2021 following the death of his father, Idriss Déby Itno, who had been in power since 1990.

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