Accessibility links

Breaking News

Chad Deploys Troops as Opposition Protests After Deby Named Election Winner

Supporters of Chad's junta chief Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno celebrate their candidate's victory in a street in N'Djamena on May 9, 2024.
Supporters of Chad's junta chief Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno celebrate their candidate's victory in a street in N'Djamena on May 9, 2024.

YAOUNDE, CAMEROON — Chad has ordered the immediate deployment of troops to maintain peace, especially in the capital, N'djamena, after provisional results of the May 6 presidential elections surprisingly published on Thursday night declared transitional ruler General Mahamat Idriss Deby winner with over 61% of the votes. The main challenger, Succes Masra, claimed he won, with over 73% of the votes.

Residents in Chad's capital, N'djamena, said they awoke Friday morning to the sound of heavy gunshots. Forty-five-year old Oumar Saleh is a resident of the Machaga neighborhood spoke to VOA on Friday morning via a messaging app.

Oumar said the shooting may have been ordered by Chad's government to intimidate those objecting to the results of Chad's May 6 presidential elections published by the country's elections management body, ANGE, Thursday night.

Chadian state TV reports that there were isolated gunshots in N'djamena but does not say who the shooters are.

Public Security and Immigration Minister Mahamat Charfadine Margui said in a release Thursday that enough police have been deployed to stop what he called the use of weapons and explosives all over Chad, but specifically in Ndjamena.

Chad's military also said before the announcement of the partial results that enough troops had been deployed to protect people and their goods, especially in N'djamena and Moundou, the central African state’s second-largest city.

According to the provisional results, transitional President General Mahamat Deby is the official winner with 61.3% of the votes, more than the 50% needed to avoid a run-off.

Members of the opposition and the public say they are surprised ANGE published the figures in three days instead of 15 days after the voting, as stated in the electoral code. ANGE says it is legal to publish results within 15 days.

Deby in a late-night message said he is very grateful to the majority that voted for him.

Deby said he is now the democratically elected president of all Chadians, including opposition party leaders who lost. Deby says he is particularly delighted because he scored a resounding victory, and that he is going to work immediately to fulfill his electoral promises.

Deby said he will concentrate on providing jobs for unemployed youths and strengthening Chad's internal security to guarantee peace and stability.

ANGE says more than 75% of the registered 8.2 million voters took part in the vote.

Deby's main challenger, Succes Masra, scored 18.53% of the vote while Albert Pahimi Padacke, the first transitional prime minister, got 7.91%.

Masra had earlier declared that he won a resounding victory in the first round of voting, but that his victory was stolen by Deby. He spoke in a message broadcast on Facebook Thursday afternoon.

He said Chadians voted en masse to say enough is enough to the over three-decade dictatorial rule of Chad's former president Idriss Deby Itno and his son Mahamat Idriss Deby. Masra said all his supporters and security forces should strongly oppose an attempt by Deby to steal victory from the people.

Masra said all Chad civilians should calmly mobilize and demonstrate peacefully for the stolen victory to be restored.

Opposition and civil society members say there is perceivable tension that may cause chaos in Chad following the publication of the results.

Candidates have five days from the date of publication of provisional results to file complaints at the constitutional council, which has 10 days rule on fraud and irregularities allegations. Definitive results will be declared by Chad's Constitutional Council on May 21.

Deby took power in April 2021 after the death of his father, Idriss Deby Itno, who died on the front line of a war against rebels after ruling for 30 years.