Chad has witnessed bloody clashes between police officers and protestors against the military’s hold on power, with at least 50 people killed including security personnel.
Most deaths occurred in N’Djamena, the capital of the country, and the cities of Moundou and Koumra.
Some areas of N’Djamena were filled with black smoke and you could hear the sound of teargas grenades being deployed throughout the day. Many roads were blocked by burning tires and barricades, and shops had to close their doors in order not to be looted.
Prime Minister Saleh Kebzabo announced the death toll during a news conference. He claimed that security forces were acting in self defense.
“What happened today is an armed popular uprising to seize power by force and those responsible for this violence will face justice,” said Kebzabo, who only took office last week after the resignation of his predecessor. “The demonstrators had firearms and they are considered rebels.”
The United Nations condemned the brutal crackdown on protestors.
“We deplore lethal use of force against protesters in Chad,” the UN rights office said in a tweet, calling on authorities to “ensure safety and protection of human rights, including freedom of expression and peaceful assembly”.
“Reported violations must be investigated. We call for calm and all sides to show restraint,” the statement added.