Chad Makes Arrests over 'Destabilization Plot'

Chad has arrested a group of people trying to carry out a "destabilization plot," as police and opposition sources said one of the detainees was an opposition lawmaker.

"A small group of ill-intentioned individuals attempted to carry out a destabilization plot against the institutions of the republic," the government said in a statement Wednesday, without indicating how many people were involved.

The government said the army had "neutralized" the group and that the arrested ringleaders had been handed over to prosecutors for investigation.

"This small group... had been conspiring for more than four months to jeopardize the country's hard-won peace," it said.

A police source said that "several civilians and soldiers, including Saleh Makki," an opposition lawmaker, had been arrested Monday.

Opposition leader Saleh Kebzabo said in an email to Agence France Presse that he received reports of "numerous" arrests in the capital N'Djamena and that "several sources" had confirmed to him that Makki was among those arrested.

Chad has had a history of instability.

In March 2006, the government said soldiers and police had thwarted a bid to overthrow President Idriss Deby Itno's regime and kill him by shooting down his aircraft.

Deby himself first came to power in a coup in December 1990. Six years later he won the sub-Saharan nation's first multi-party presidential election since independence from France in 1960.

Chad also sent 2,500 troops to Mali this year in contribution to a French-led military offensive to dislodge Islamist extremists who had seized large swathes of the north last year.

Source: Agence France Presse

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