Yaya Dillo tells reporters that his mother and son, among five of his family members, were killed when security forces raided his home in N’Djamena.

A former rebel leader and candidate in the upcoming presidential election in Chad said security forces ransacked his home in the capital, N’Djamena, killing several of his family members.

Yaya Dillo told the French radio station RFI that he was attacked early Sunday by members of the Presidential Guard, led by the son of Chadian President Idriss Deby.

“They attacked my house at 5am. The President’s Guard … They killed my mother, son, and three [other relatives],” he said.

A government statement said the raid was an operation to arrest Dillo, who allegedly failed to respond to two legal mandates.

Government forces were said to have opened fire after encountering armed resistance. In the fight that followed, two people were killed and five injured, including three police officers.

Netblocks, a UK-based internet disruption tracking service, reported that internet access in N’Djamena was cut on Sunday.

Dillo said his home has been surrounded by government forces since the incident.

⚠️ Confirmed: Internet disrupted on #Chad amid reports of deadly stalemate in opposition candidate Yaya Dillo’s home; Real-time network data shows national connectivity up to 60% of the normal level from ~ 9:30 am local time; Incident in progress 📉 #Tchad

📰 https://t.co/SsI6N9FCCe pic.twitter.com/vLvI3em4uc

– NetBlocks (@netblocks) February 28, 2021

Dillo is a formal rebel leader who fought Deby in 2006 before joining his government and becoming a minister. More recently, he was Chad’s representative to the Central African Economic and Monetary Community (CEMAC).

He is one of 16 people who have announced that they will run against Deby in the April elections.

Deby, who has been in power since 1990, pushed through a new constitution in 2018 that reintroduced term limits but was able to keep him in power until 2033.

Hundreds of people took to the streets earlier this month to protest his candidacy in the upcoming elections.

Deby has faced strikes and protests in recent years over economic problems caused by low oil prices and armed uprisings in the north, but has relied on his effective control of state media and institutions to maintain political dominance.

Chad is an important ally of Western nations in the fight against armed groups in West and Central Africa.

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