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HRW calls for investigations after scores of protesters were shot dead in Chad

HRW calls for investigations after scores of protesters were shot dead in Chad
An anti-government demonstrator lays on the ground after being wounded during ...   -  
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Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called on Chadian authorities to conduct an "independent investigation" into the violent protests in Chad that left some 50 people dead last week.

"Security forces fired on demonstrators in several towns in Chad, including the capital, N'Djamena," HRW wrote in a statement on Wednesday referring to demonstrators being "beaten" and "hundreds" of arrests "during and after the demonstrations.

The human rights group called for an "independent and effective" investigation to determine "whether the use of lethal force by the security services was a justified and proportional response to any alleged violence," said Lewis Mudge, Central Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

The Chadian opposition had called for demonstrations on October 20 against the regime of the young General Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno, who had just extended a transition period to elections by two years.

This comes 18 months after he was proclaimed president - then at the head of a military junta - to replace his father Idriss Déby Itno, who was killed by rebels.

The transitional government acknowledged the deaths of some 50 people on October 20, saying that a dozen law enforcement officials had died fighting a violent "insurgency.

HRW said it was "unable to confirm" the deaths of law enforcement officials from "independent sources."

"The transitional government should ensure that its security forces refrain from using unwarranted and disproportionate force during demonstrations and respect the fundamental rights to life, limb, and liberty, as well as the rights of assembly and peaceful protest," said Lewis Mudge.

Independent experts from the United Nations and the African Union have condemned "the lethal repression of peaceful protests over the political transition period," expressing deep concern over allegations of hundreds of arbitrary arrests.

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