N’Djamena-Chad’s Ministry of Interior said it had arrested several people after unveiling plans to assassinate prominent politicians, bomb polling stations and election committee headquarters prior to Sunday’s presidential election.
The ministry said in a statement late Thursday that politicians were among those arrested for planning the killing of opposition and civil society leaders to form the government.
Rights groups and opposition politicians say authorities cracked down on opposition prior to Sunday’s vote when President Chad Idriss Dévi was ready to extend his 30-year rule.
Presidential candidate Yaya Diro has been hiding since two people, including her mother, were assaulted at home in February.
Opposition leaders called for a boycott in protest of Debbie’s leadership. The president’s announcement in February calling for a sixth term triggered violent demonstrations across Central African countries.
According to the ministry, those involved in the election program were arrested while driving a car with fake license plates loaded with “weapons of war.” The situation was in control, it said.
Some of the detainees are leaders of Chad’s opposition Socialist Party, Dynamou Durham, his brother told Reuters.
“Our country has become a jungle and crackdowns on adversaries are increasing a few days before the election,” said Durham’s brother Finamou Durham.
It was not immediately clear how many others were arrested or who all shared the same party.
Human Rights Watch, a US-based advocacy group, said Thursday that Chad’s security forces banned protests, assaulted demonstrators and arrested dozens of people prior to voting.
Chad’s Minister of Justice Jimmet Arabi said security forces acted professionally, but banned protests sometimes led to violence.