By SAM MEDNICK
DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Chad’s government has foiled an attempt to destabilize the country and undermine the constitution, the government spokesman said in a statement.
Eleven people conspired in the plot, including soldiers and a human rights activist, said Aziz Mahamat Saleh on Thursday. They were arrested last month and transferred to the high court in the capital, N’Djamena.
“A judicial investigation has been opened against these people for undermining the constitutional order, criminal association, illegal possession of firearms and complicity,” said Saleh.
The accused were all military except for one human rights activist, Baradine Berdei Targuio, who was charged with breaching national security and the illegal possession of weapons.
Tensions have risen in the West African nation in recent months with unprecedented protests mounting against the government.
Mahamat Idriss Deby was declared the head of state after his father’s death in April 2021, instead of following the Chadian constitution’s line of succession. Opposition political parties at the time called the handover a coup d’etat, but later agreed to accept Deby as interim leader for 18 months.
In October, Chadian security forces opened fire on anti-government demonstrators in the country’s two largest cities killing at least 60 people.
The men’s arrest is an attempt to silence dissident voices say analysts.
“There are people not happy with the current government and its handling of (the) transition,” said Rida Lyammouri, senior fellow at the Policy Center for the New South, a Moroccan-based think tank. “What’s interesting is that those accused of the plot are mixed of military and human right officials, something that is not very common when we talk about an attempted coup,” he said.