Chad Arrests Journalist Over Government Criticism, Union Says

Chadian authorities arrested a journalist who has criticized President Idriss Deby’s government, according to the central African country’s journalists union.

Eric Topona, the secretary-general of the Chadian Union of Journalists, was arrested today for causing “trouble to the constitutional order,” Abba Mahamat Moussa, the union’s president, said by phone from the capital, N’Djamena. The union was “troubled by the unexplained arrest,” he said. Topona’s father, Celestin, is the head of the opposition National Union for Development and Renewal party.

The authorities arrested two generals after a failed coup attempt May 1 in which at least eight people died. Chad detained General Weiding Assi Assoue, a former defense minister and regional governor, and General David Ngomine Beadimadji, head of gendarme training in the military tribunal, as well as two lawmakers for their role in the alleged coup bid.

Chad, which produces 114,000 barrels of oil a day and has a $9.49 billion economy, has been ruled by Deby since he seized power in a coup in December 1990.

In 2008, 270 people were killed during fighting between government forces and rebel fighters who entered N’Djamena in an attempt to overthrow Deby, according to Medecins Sans Frontieres, the Geneva-based medical charity.

Communication Minister Hassan Sylla Bakari didn’t answer calls to two of his mobile phones.

To contact the reporter on this story: Franz Wild in Johannesburg at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at

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