Yaya Dilou: Chadian opposition leader killed in an exchange of fire

  • Written by Maynie Jones and Wedayle Chipiloshi
  • BBC News, Lagos and London

Image source, Isouf Sanogo

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Opposition politician Yaya Dello has been an outspoken opponent of his cousin, President Mohamed Déby

A prominent opponent of Chadian military leader Mohamed Déby was killed in a shootout with security forces, officials said.

Heavy gunfire was heard on Wednesday near his party headquarters in the capital, N'Djamena.

Mr. Dillo was also a cousin of President Déby, who has been in power since 2021.

The army appointed Déby to succeed his father, who was killed by rebels after three decades in power.

The unrest in the Central African country follows the announcement of presidential elections on May 6.

These elections aim to return the country to constitutional rule.

Before his death, Dillo was widely expected to be his cousin's main rival in the election.

He was the leader of the Socialist Party Without Borders (PSF).

Communications Minister Abdul Rahman Kalamallah told AFP that Dilo died on Wednesday “as he was retreating, at his party headquarters. He did not want to surrender and opened fire on law enforcement forces.”

Authorities said 12 others were also killed in the shootout.

Mobile phone and internet networks have been disrupted in Chad since the reported attack on the headquarters of the National Security Agency (ANSE).

“For 24 hours, people had no access to the internet, and only a few hotels had access to the internet,” Amaury Houchard, a N'Djamena-based journalist, told the BBC on Thursday evening.

He added that Dilo's death raised doubts about whether the elections could still be held as planned

Delo said on Wednesday that the accusation that he was behind the attack on ANSE was intended to “scare me not to go to the elections.”

Palestinian security forces denied the government's version of events, saying that their members were the ones who were attacked.

The party's Secretary-General told Reuters news agency that the soldiers targeted them while they were trying to recover the body of their colleague Ahmed Al-Turabi.

Palestinian security forces said that Al-Turabi was arrested and shot dead on Tuesday before his body was dumped outside the ANSE building.

The government accused Turabi of attempting to assassinate the President of the Supreme Court.

This was not Dilo's first violent confrontation with security forces.

Palestinian security forces said state forces killed Dilou's mother, son and three others as they ran against the current president's father, Idriss Deby, for the presidency in 2021.

The party said the attackers were trying to arrest Mr. Dilo.

At the time, the government cast doubt on the death toll announced by Palestinian security forces, saying that three people had been killed.

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