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State of Emergency Declared in Chad to Counter Ethnic Violence

Counterterrorism & Security

7Dnews London - AFP

Sun, 18 Aug 2019 17:38 GMT

The intercommunal fighting and violence that left dozens dead earlier this month has prompted Chad President Idriss Deby to declare a state of emergency in two eastern provinces, AFP reported on Sunday August 18th.

According to the Presidents’ office, the state of emergency will run for three months in Sila and Ouaddai regions where 50 people have died since August 9th in fighting between cattle herders and settled farmers. In order to ensure peace and security of the population in the region, military forces will be deployed from now on, along with an insistence that it is necessary to apply rules and encourage a disarmament among civilians.

Eastern Chad is in the grip of a cycle of violence between nomadic camel herders, many from the Zaghawa ethnic group from which Deby hails, and sedentary farmers from the Ouaddian community.

Natural disasters, such as drought, and the population growth have increased tensions and aggravated the situation. However, an influx of weapons from conflict-stricken neighbours has made it even more deadly.

In a recent statement, the president described the violence as a call for national concern, adding that it all was a terrible phenomenon, stressing that civilians who possess guns are not hesitant to shoot the police, and a total war must be waged against those who are carrying weapons and are killing people.

Legislative elections in Chad are scheduled to take place by the end of the year, because they have been postponed several times since 2015. Deby, who grabbed power in 1990, looks to maintain his hold on the country, according to AFP.