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Pro-Democracy Protests in Chad and Rising Violent Crime in Turks and Caicos

 

Chad: Pro-Democracy Rallies Met by Violent Government Crackdown

A rare episode of anti-government protests occurred in Chad on Oct. 20, prompting a violent government security response and overnight curfews in multiple cities. The demonstrations began at around 0300 local in the capital N’Djamena, where protesters barricaded roads and set fire to the National Union for Democracy and Renewal (UNDR) party headquarters; security forces responded with tear gas and live ammunition in an effort to disperse the crowd. Rallies were also reported in numerous other towns and cities – including Moundou (Chad’s second-largest city), Doba, and Koumra – leading the government to declare a state of emergency and impose an 1800-0600 curfew in the affected regions. The wave of unrest and forceful violent government crackdown killed at least 50 people, injured 500 others, caused significant travel disruptions, and led numerous local businesses to close. Civil unrest of this magnitude has historically been rare in Chad; however, popular opposition to a transitional military council (TMC) – formed by the son of late President Idriss Déby following his death in April 2021 – has been growing in recent months. TMC leader Mahamat Idriss Déby initially promised an 18-month transitional period, followed by elections, and his Oct. 1 announcement that the vote would be postponed until 2024 led opposition groups to organize the Oct. 20 pro-democracy rallies. As of Oct. 26, a 2200-0500 curfew remains in effect in the capital, and the government has deployed additional military personnel to curtail any renewed protests. In addition, the government has ordered the suspension of political activities by three opposition parties accused of organizing the rallies. While demonstrations have subsided since Oct. 20, tensions between Déby’s government and opposition groups remain high, indicating that additional protests cannot be ruled out in the short-to-medium term.

 

 


 

Turks and Caicos: Gang-Related Activities Fuel Spike in Violent Crime

Several foreign governments have deployed additional law enforcement personnel to Turks and Caicos (TCI) amid rising levels of violent, gang-related crime. Police data indicate that the number of violent crimes increased by 13% between April 2021 and March 2022, prompting the US Embassy in Nassau to release a security alert on May 2 warning of an increase in armed robberies and burglaries – particularly on the island of Providenciales. The islands have registered at least 26 homicides since the beginning of the year, exceeding the total number of homicides recorded in 2021. September and October recorded 58% of the killings reported year-to-date, demonstrating a particularly sharp increase in gun crime in recent weeks. According to local authorities, the rise in violent crime is linked to the deaths of two prominent gang leaders in April 2022, which created a power vacuum in local drug and arms trafficking operations and fueled rivalries among criminal organizations. At the request of TCI Premier Charles Misick, the Bahamas, UK, and US have deployed additional law enforcement officers to the territory to assist local security personnel in responding to rising crime and increase security along TCI’s borders. While the recent increase in crime has not deliberately targeted foreign visitors, an Oct. 2 attack on a vehicle transporting two tourists as well as staff from local businesses resulted in the deaths of three people, including a US national. Despite this incident, the islands currently remain a relatively safe destination for foreign tourists, as the recent crime wave has not directly affected tourist resorts; this will likely continue to be the case in the near term, especially given the increased foreign security presence. However, a continued rise in gang-related violence could pose a spillover risk in previously peaceful areas, leading to a deterioration in the overall security environment in the medium-to-long term.

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