Date: Wed, 5 Nov 97 16:24:19 CST
From: Ray Mitchell <RMITCHEL%AI-UK@amnesty.org.uk>
Subject: AI: Chad bulletin
At least 80 people have been killed in Moundou, southern Chad, following a clash on 30 October 1997 between Chadian security forces and members of the former Forces Armees pour la republique federale (FARF), Armed Forces for the Federal Republic. Others have been arrested on suspicion of collaboration with the FARF, and subsequently subjected to torture or ill-treatment. Amnesty International is concerned that unarmed civilians are among the victims and that more extrajudicial executions, arbitrary arrests and torture may be carried out in the next few days.
Shooting between members of the army and the FARF left at least two soldiers and 40 FARF members dead, according to official sources. Laokein Barde, leader of the FARF, escaped during the incident, and his whereabouts are unknown.
The violence initially involved members of the FARF who were waiting to be integrated into the army. On 18 April 1997, a peace accord was signed by the Chadian government and the FARF which provided for, amongst other things, members of the FARF to be integrated into the Chadian National army and the civil service, a general amnesty for all FARF members, activists and sympathizers, and a renunciation of armed struggle by the FARF which would become a political party, renamed the Forum des alliances pour la Republique federale (FARF), Forum of Alliances for the Federal Republic.
In the hours and days following the first exchange of gunfire on 30 October, members of the security forces combed Moundou and extrajudicially executed, or arrested and then tortured and ill-treated, many unarmed civilians who they suspected of being FARF members. Dr Merci Danyo was arrested on 30 October, he was beaten, tied up, and put in a plastic sack; there has been no news of him since his arrest. Dominique Djekoula, Alain Doumran, Mathias and Gaston, members of the FARF, were arrested in Deli, a village near Moundou, on their way back to Moundou from the capital, N'Djamena; there is no further news of them. Alain Baltimore, two mentally ill patients, and members of the family of Desire Laonoji, the executive secretary of the FARF, were all extrajudicially executed by the security forces. Two wounded civilians were taken from the hospital; one was returned to his family and died shortly afterwards, but the other is still missing. Two human rights activists were taken hostage but managed to escape.
President Idriss Deby has faced ongoing but sporadic armed insurgency in the east, north and south regions of Chad since he took power in 1990. While all parties to the conflicts, including the FARF, have committed human rights abuses against the civilian population, the main perpetrators have been the Chadian security forces. Members of the security forces taking part in counter-insurgency operations have committed scores of human rights violations against the civilian population. In 1995 and 1996, there were many counter-insurgency operations in the south of Chad, in the Logone occidental and oriental regions, where the FARF was active. Real and suspected members of the FARF have been the victims of human rights violations in this context, including arbitrary arrest and torture. Many people or communities appear to have been targetted because relatives or people they are associated with, are suspected of connections with the FARF.
The FARF have committed human rights abuses, including deliberate and arbitary killings and rape, against the civilian population.
There is almost total impunity for human rights violators in Chad. Amnesty International believes that the phenomenon of impunity is one of the main contributing factors to the continuing pattern of human rights violations in Chad, and the world over; when investigations are not pursued and the perpetrators are not held to account, a self-perpetuating cycle of violence is set in motion resulting in continuing violations of human rights.