A mass trial has begun in Chad over the death of former ruler Déby

A mass trial has begun in Chad over the death of former ruler Déby

N’JAMENA, Chad (AP) – Authorities in chad A mass trial began on Tuesday of hundreds of accused rebels accused of killing longtime President Idriss Deby Itno, who died under unclear circumstances in 2021, two days after winning a sixth term in office.

In addition to the killing charges, 454 alleged members of the Front for Change and Concord rebel groups have also been formally charged with terrorism, the use of child soldiers and undermining the integrity and security of Chad, a defense lawyer, Ouncea Vetada, said.

Déby ruled the country for more than three decades and died on April 21, 2021, of unspecified injuries sustained while on tour with troops battling rebel groups trying to seize control of the oil-rich central African nation. No details of his death have been released.

The suspects were arrested and held in Klesom prison, about 20 kilometers (12 mi) east of the capital N’Djamena, where the trial is ongoing. The process is expected to last 10 days and is not open to the public. The defendants face up to life in prison if convicted.

Members of the rebel group are believed to have armed and trained in neighboring Libya before crossing into northern Chad in April. Debbie was elected to a sixth term in the April 19, 2021 election that was boycotted by top opposition candidates. He died a few days later.

Déby seized power in 1990 when his rebel forces overthrew then-President Hisense Habré, who was later convicted of human rights abuses at an international tribunal in Senegal.

Hours after Debbie’s death, Chad’s military named her son, Mahamat Idris Devi, as the country’s interim leader for what was intended to be an 18-month period. But last year the government announced that it was being extended for another two years, which Leads to protests All over the country.

One analyst described the mass trial, which began on Tuesday, as an attempt by Mahamat Idris Deby to strengthen his grip on power and signal to potential rivals that he was a worthy successor to his father.

“Deby is using repression to consolidate her still-uncertain position,” said Benjamin Hunter, Africa analyst at Verisk Maplecroft, a risk analysis firm. “But this approach has never stopped an insurgency in Chad before and is unlikely to do so now.”

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