Chadian Opposition leader Alive

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The Chadian opposition leader Ngarlejy Yorongar is alive. The head of the Federation of Action for the Republic (FAR) arrived Sunday in the Cameroonian economic capital, Yaoundé. The Member of Parliament who is radically opposed to the Chadian president, Idriss Deby Itno, went missing on February 3, after his arrest by the chadian army for his supposed involvement in the rebel insurgency. There is still no news of the spokesperson for the Coordination for the Defence of the Constitution (CPDC), Ibni Oumar Mahamat Saleh, arrested under the same accusations.

Ngarlejy Yorongar has found refuge in Cameroon. He arrived by air, Sunday, from Maroua, a town situated in the extreme north of the country. He was arrested February 3, in Chad where he was accused of conniving with the rebels to overthrow president Idriss Deby Itno. No news was heard from him nor his arrest until he establised telephone contact with his son, Rokoulmian Yorongar, who resides in France. The latter, in an interview with AFP, last Saturday, confirmed that his father was alive. The opposition leader accorded an interview to Afrique Education, published the same day, in which he confirmed his arrest and eventual escape to Cameroon.

Target of an assassination plot

Ngarlejy Yorongar was detained in a secret prison until he was led to a cemetery in Ngonmba, a neighbourhood situated in the south of the Chadian capital, N’Djamena, where “one of his captors shot twice in his direction before disappearing, taking him for dead”, reported the AFP.

Ngarlejy Yorongar also revealed in the same article that other opposition members in the persons of Lol Mahamat Choua and Ibni Oumar Mahamat Saleh, arrested under the same accusations were his cell mates. Although Lol Mahamat Choua is “apparently” free, there is no news whatsoever from Ibni Oumar Mahamat Saleh, spokeperson of the Coordination for the defence of the Constitution (CPDC), the main Chadian opposition coalition.

French reaction

French foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, expressed his elation in a communiqué released Sunday evening about Mr. Ngarlejy Yorongar’s reappearance. He also expressed his worry about Mr. Saleh’s whereabouts.

“Ngarlejy Yorongar may continue his exile to Europe”, Radio France International reported, saying that “the oppostion leader is worried about the possibility of having been poisoned” amid maltreatment while in detention. The opposition leader’s transfer to France for treatment has since been confirmed.

During his brief transit last Wednesday to Chad, the French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, suggested the set up an international enquiry commission to find out more about the disappearance of the missing Chadian opposition members. Official report from Chad, Monday, confirm the establishment of the proposed enquiry commission.

The French President’s visit, seen as France’s stamp of approval to the Deby regime, was met with harsh criticisms from human rights organisations. Spokesperson for the Human Rights Watch, Reed Brod, reacted after the French President’s announcement, when he said that they were “worried about the safety of the two men”.

Last Saturday in Paris, the organisation for Chadians abroad, demonstrated to denounce the Chadian regime and also to say “no to France, a dictator’s friend”.

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