Chad military government allows opposition leader back

N’DJAMENA (Reuters) – Chad’s transitional government has agreed to allow an opposition leader who fled the central African country to return after a deadly crackdown on protesters demanding a quicker transition to democratic rule, the Central African regional bloc said in a statement on Tuesday.

Succes Masra fled Chad after dozens were killed and hundreds injured as security forces brutally cracked down on demonstrations in the capital N’Djamena on Oct. 20, 2022. The government issued an international arrest warrant against him after he left.

But Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi, who has been appointed by Central African bloc ECCAS to mediate Chad’s return to constitutional rule, signed a statement saying that the transitional government and Masra had signed an agreement on Tuesday.

The deal will allow Masra and all other people who left the country after the Oct. 20, 2022, events to return, the ECCAS statement said.

Vast, military-run Chad has been in crisis since the April 2021 death of President Idriss Deby, who ruled the country for three decades.

His son, Mahamat Idriss Deby, seized power in the immediate aftermath and initially promised an 18-month transition to elections. But at the start of October last year he announced they would be pushed back by two years, sparking the deadly protests.

(Reporting by Mahamat Ramadane; Writing by Sofia Christensen; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)