Five dead in Chad anti-junta protests

At least five people died Tuesday during banned protests against Chad’s new military junta, with its leader pledging national dialogue as the generals take charge following the shock battlefield death of his father and veteran ruler Idriss Deby Itno.

Deby’s 37-year-old son Mahamat, who heads the so-called Transitional Military Council (TMC), pledged an “inclusive national dialogue” after violent protests in the capital N’Djamena and the south of Chad, a country seen as crucial in the fight against jihadists in the Sahel region.

The government said at least five people had died in the protests but a local NGO reported nine fatalities — seven in the capital and two in the south.

Police were deployed in N’Djamena to break up the demonstrations, which had been called by the opposition and civil society groups.

They used tear gas in the capital to disperse small groups of demonstrators, some of whom burned tyres, AFP journalists saw.

A woman died when anti-junta protesters attacked a bus in N’Djamena’s Dembe district, prosecutor Youssouf Tom told AFP.

Separately, a man died in protests in the southern city of Mondou, some 400 kilometers (250 miles) south of the capital.

“We do not yet have the exact circumstances of the death, he is a young man of 21,” Mondou prosecutor Ali Kolla Brahim told AFP.

But a high-ranking state media official, Ahmat Malloum, told AFP by telephone from Moundou that police had fired live ammunition on a student who had thrown a stone at a police car.

“The student died instantly,” Malloum said