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Chad: Families mourn crackdown victims

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Transitional Military Council

Yvonne Nour is grieving. Her son Adoussama Balam was killed by Chadian security forces as they tried to stop demonstrations against army rule.

As young men responded to a call by opposition leaders to stage protests demanding a return to civilian rule, the military junta headed by a youthful general responded with teargas and live ammunition, killing at least five people.

Adoussama's parents say he was unarmed and only wanted to see good governance in Chad.

"He left with bare hands, why did they kill him with a gun? Why? He had nothing on him," asked Nour as about a dozen women sat around her with their heads bowed.

"I say he's a martyr because when he signed up he didn't know what was waiting for him. He was fighting for a noble cause," said Joslin Loumvadi Ponga, the victim's uncle.

"He wanted Chad to be democratic and that's what they promised us from the beginning, but that's not what we're experiencing. What they said is different from reality. We want things to change. If he fought, it was to bring about change in Chad," he added.

Besides Tuesday's crackdown, the Sahel country faces growing social unrest and a rebel insurgency.

On Friday, an AU delegation arrived in Ndjamena to hold meetings with the transitional army council. The bloc has said it wants Chad to swiftly return to civilian rule.