Voter shot dead at Chad polling station: electoral commission

A man was shot dead on Monday after voting in Chad’s presidential election by an attacker who did not have an electoral card and had been barred from voting, electoral officials told Agence France-Presse.

The unknown gunman opened fire indiscriminately, hitting a 65-year-old who had just cast his ballot in Moundou, said Ousmane Houzibe, head of the ANGE electoral body in the southern city.

The shooter was among a group of people demanding the right to vote in the election, in which junta leader and transitional president Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno’s main rival is Prime Minister Succes Masra.

A polling station official counts ballots at the Abena school in N’Djamena, Chad on Monday. Photo: AFP

The circumstances of the incident were confirmed over the phone to Agence France-Presse by Moundou mayor Bienvenu Guelmbaye.

Houzibe, who described it as an isolated incident, said calm had returned but that the attackers had fled.

An official from Moundou prosecutor’s office, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the assailants were being interviewed, while the mayor spoke of four arrests.

“Unidentified individuals burst into the voting station at Bellevue school, wanted to vote but not having voter cards, insisted,” Houzibe said.

“In the altercation, an unidentified individual drew his weapon and fired, the bullet hit a voter aged 65, who had just voted and who was leaving.

“He died on the spot,” Houzibe said, adding the aggressor wanted to “intimidate members of the polling station”.

I want this day to dawn and the sun to set so that justice and equality reign in my country
Elia Torndoumbay, an unemployed nurse voting in Chad

Chad’s presidential election is aimed at ending three years of military rule that opponents of junta leader Deby have dismissed as fixed.

The vote will decide whether to extend three decades of Deby family rule, in a country crucial to the fight against jihadism across the Sahel desert region.

Chad is the first of four military regimes in the Sahel to hold an election after successive coups in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger since 2020.

Former opposition leader Masra has been denounced as a stooge by critics in the absence of other serious challengers.

Soldiers patrol at a polling station in N’Djamena, Chad on Monday. Photo: AFP

Both men have predicted a first-round win in polls that international rights groups have warned will be neither free nor fair. Early in the campaign, observers predicted a massive win for Deby, 40, whose main rival was killed, with others banned from standing.

However, Masra, also aged 40, has ramped up considerable support on the stump in recent weeks and could force a second round.

“I want change in my country. The country has been through a lot,” said Elia Torndoumbay, 37, an unemployed nurse voting in N’Djamena.

“I want this day to dawn and the sun to set so that justice and equality reign in my country.”



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