Human Rights in Africa: Review of 2019 - Chad [AFR 01/1352/2020]


Freedom of expression and peaceful assembly were repressed, and the justice system was used to crack down on dissent. Several cases of excessive use of force by defense and security forces were reported. Detention conditions remained deplorable.


Armed forces continued to fight Boko Haram around the Lake Chad region. Deadly clashes occurred between farmers and pastoralists in the provinces of Ouaddaï and Sila. Parliamentary elections were postponed to 2020 after having been shelved since 2015 for alleged security and financial reasons.

Excessive use of force

Several cases of excessive use of force by defense and security forces were reported.

Defense and security forces opened fire on a group of women, wounding 10 of them, during a protest on 23 February in Abéché. They were students protesting against the decision to remove the head of a school complex in disobedience of an earlier court ruling.

On 12 September, police in N'Djamena shot a man in the leg, on the pretext that he had walked in a restricted area.

Also, in N’Djamena, Bonheur Mateyan Manaye was riding a motorcycle on 4 November when he was shot by the police escort of the Speaker of the National Assembly. He later died of his injuries.

Freedom of assembly

Peaceful demonstrations were regularly banned or repressed by the authorities.

In N’Djamena, 13 protesters from the organization Collectif Tchadien Contre la Vie Chère were beaten and arrested on 25 April during a peaceful protest against the shortage of butane gas. The demonstration had been banned by a decree of the Minister of Security. In March, a previous demonstration organized by the same organization had also been banned.

On 1 June in N’Djamena, a press conference to present the new opposition party Les Transformateurs was banned by the authorities. Police then fired tear gas at the party’s parade in town.

On 18 November, victims and families of victims of former President Hissène Habré protested to demand payment of their compensation ordered by the Court of Appeal of N'Djamena on 25 March 2015 but not yet implemented. The peaceful demonstration they organized in the capital was repressed by security forces, who used tear gas.

Freedom of expression

Freedom of expression continued to be violated and abused.

In July, President Déby announced that he had asked the relevant services to lift the restrictions to social networks on the internet. The authorities had previously denied being the cause of the blockages implemented since March 2018.

Torture and other ill-treatment

Two deaths were reported as a result of torture in police custody. On 25 May, a man taken to the police station in the 7th arrondissement of N’Djamena on theft charges died after being tortured. On 8 May, Richard Mbaiguedem died after torture in a police station in the Chadian capital.

Meanwhile, on 18 May, one policeman and two subordinates arrested on 22 December 2018 for torturing a man to death and broadcasting the video of his torture on social networks were sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Arbitrary arrests and detention

Defense and security forces committed arbitrary arrests and detention in the framework of the state of emergency declared in the provinces of Ouaddaï and Sila in August, Chadian NGOs reported.

On 5 November, the indictment division of the Court of Appeal of N’Djamena released 88 detainees from Amsinene prison, some of whom had been held for more than nine years without a court order.

Mahamat Nour Ibédou, the Secretary General of the Chadian Convention for the Defence of Human Rights (Convention tchadienne pour la défense des droits de l’Homme), was detained on 5 December. He initially faced a complaint for defamation - before being told that he would face a criminal case, the nature of which was not specified to him. He was released after the investigating judge dismissed the case.


Places of detention continued to be overcrowded and conditions remained unhygienic. In October, a mutiny erupted in a prison in Abéché, during which at least two detainees were killed and several wounded. In June, an inmate was killed while attempting to escape from Bol prison. In both cases, the detainees protested the conditions of detention and the slow pace of judicial proceedings.

Abuses by armed groups

There was an upsurge in armed attacks by Boko Haram against civilians and the military in province du Lac. At the end of March, 23 soldiers were killed in an attack on an Army base. A national television reporter and four soldiers died on 25 May when their vehicle hit a landmine and exploded. In June, at least 11 soldiers were killed in an attack in the Ngouboua area. On 14 August, a suicide bomber killed six people by blowing herself up in the courtyard of a traditional chief in Tatafiromou, in the Kaiga-Kindjiria sub-prefecture. In September, four civilians and three soldiers were killed in two separate attacks in Kaiga-Kindjiria and Medikouta. On 29 October, a doctor, a nurse and their driver were kidnapped in the Tchoukouliya area. In December, Boko Haram militants killed 14 Chadian civilians and wounded five others in an overnight attack on a fishermen’s camp in the northeastern part of Lake Chad. Four soldiers were killed on 2 December between Ngouboua and Baga Sola. As of November, more than 222,000 people were displaced in the province du Lac, representing a 24% rise compared to the previous counting by the UN.

Land disputes

The provinces of Ouaddaï and Sila experienced violence, aggravated by the use of weapons of war, between farmers and pastoralists. As a result of clashes, some 100 people were killed between May and June, Chadian NGOs reported, and at least 50 in August, according to the authorities. The latter declared a state of emergency in these two provinces on 20 August, and the National Assembly renewed it in September for a period of four months.