Chad troops out in force after junta chief elected presidentFri, 10 May 2024 14:22:01 GMT

Chadian soldiers deployed on Friday in large numbers across several districts of the capital after late-night celebrations marked the presidential election victory of junta leader General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno.Even before the official results gave Deby more than 61 percent in Monday’s ballot, the presidential guard had parked many armoured vehicles on major junctions and thoroughfares.AFP reporters said the number of troops on the streets Friday appeared considerably larger than after previous elections.Just hours before the official results were announced late Thursday, Prime Minister Succes Masra had declared himself victor in the vote.The former opposition leader appointed prime minister in January, had warned that Deby’s team would rig the results to ensure he won.Masra urged Chadians to “mobilise peacefully but firmly… to prove our victory”.The electoral commission said Masra had garnered only 18.53 percent of the vote.The regime had long muzzled opposition figures and Deby’s main rival was killed in February.The 40-year-old was proclaimed transitional president three years ago by his fellow generals after his father, iron-fisted president Idriss Deby Itno, had been shot dead by rebels after 30 years in power.No stepped-up security was visible around the headquarters of Masra’s Transformers’ party in the south of the capital on Friday.But heavily-armed members of the presidential guard wearing their distinctive red berets were out on main roads alongside a large number of armoured vehicles, AFP journalists reported.Anti-riot police in black uniforms with their faces masked were also on the streets.- Chad capital calm -But the capital appeared calm ahead of Friday’s Muslim prayers and with shops and markets open as people went about their business.Soldiers had let off repeated bursts of gunfire in the air near the party HQ after the results were announced late Thursday, both in celebration of Deby’s win and to deter protesters from gathering.Near the presidential palace, Deby’s supporters had shouted, sung, blasted car horns and fired their own guns in the air in celebration.At least two teenagers were wounded by falling bullets, an AFP journalist saw.Several Chadians said they were waiting to hear if Masra would be sacked or if he would resign.”We know full well that Masra won,” said Madallh Ndonodji, a young man out in the popular Moursal area.”We are waiting for orders from him, we can react,” he said.Thirty-year-old Bonheur Nadjitessem said the election result appeared “rigged”.”We have had enough of peaceful demonstrations, the other side is armed,” he said, sitting on his scooter.”If we are to go out (on the streets), we need all the people” out as well.International human rights groups had said the election would be neither credible for fair.The vote marks the end of three years of military rule and seals dynastic rule by the Deby clan in a country deemed crucial to the fight against jihadism across Africa’s Sahel desert region.The new president had promised free elections within 18 months when his fellow generals appointed him transitional leader in 2021.His extension of the transition period by another two years sparked major protests in October 2022 that were brutally repressed by the police and army.yas-dwi-lnf-hpn-gir/bp/rlp