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Soldiers deployed across Chad as tension, protest mount after President’s inauguration

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Chadian soldiers have been deployed to many parts of the country after the inauguration of General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno as civilian president.

Even before the official results gave Deby more than 61 percent in Monday’s ballot, the presidential guard had parked many armoured vehicles on major junctions and thoroughfares.

Reporters said the number of troops on the streets appeared considerably larger than normal.

This is coming after opposition leader, Succès Masra, who came second in Chad’s presidential election, announced Sunday he had lodged a request with the Constitutional Council to have the vote annulled.

The former opposition leader had warned that Deby’s team would rig the results.

Masra urged Chadians to “mobilise peacefully but firmly… to prove our victory.”

The electoral commission said Masra had garnered only 18.53 percent of the vote.

Deby, 40, had been proclaimed transitional president three years ago by the army after his father, iron-fisted president Idriss Deby Itno, had been shot dead by rebels.

No stepped-up security was visible around the headquarters of Masra’s Transformers’ party in the south of the capital on Friday.

Soldiers had let off repeated bursts of gunfire in the air near the party HQ after the results were announced late Thursday, both in celebration of Deby’s win and to deter protesters from gathering.

Heavily-armed members of the presidential guard wearing their red berets were out Friday on main roads alongside an impressive number of armoured vehicles.

But the capital appeared calm ahead of Friday’s Muslim prayers and people went about their business.

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Near the presidential palace, Deby’s supporters had shouted, sung, blasted car horns and fired their own guns in the air in celebration.

Culled from AFP


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