Dissidents detained in Chad, group says

Feb. 27, 2008 at 10:52 AM
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N'DJAMENA, Chad, Feb. 27 (UPI) -- Human Rights Watch alleges the Chadian government detained two opposition politicians despite claims to the contrary.

Officials in Chad said they didn't know where Ibni Oumar Mahamat Saleh or Ngarlejy Yorongar were following their disappearance. Witnesses told Human Rights Watch investigators, however, they saw Chadian soldiers take both men from their home in a government crackdown on political dissidents, the group said in a news release Wednesday.

"The government says it doesn't know how Yorongar and Ibni disappeared," the Africa director at Human Rights Watch, Georgette Gagnon, said. "Our inquiry leaves little doubt that it was the government which took them, and we hold the government fully responsible for their well-being and safe return."

Government officials suggested rebel forces took the men. The government announced in early February, however, that it had another opposition leader, Lol Mahamat Choua, in custody as a "prisoner of war."

Human Rights Watch alleges the detentions are part of a wider forced disappearance campaign targeting opponents of the Chadian government.

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