N’DJAMENA (Reuters) – The United States has ordered its non-essential staff in Chad to leave the African country as rebel fighters approached the capital on Sunday after early election results showed President Idriss Deby on course to extend his three-decade rule.
Sunday morning, a Reuters reporter saw large numbers of heavily armed Chad security forces patrolling the streets of the capital.
Partial election results showed President Idriss Deby on course to extend his three decades in power, despite signs of growing discontent over his handling of the nation’s oil wealth.
Deby has won a majority in all but two of the 84 departments announced so far, and secured a plurality in the other two, with 28 departments remaining, according to the Independent National Election Commission (CENI).
“Due to their growing proximity to N’Djamena and the possibility for violence in the city, non-essential U.S. government employees have been ordered to leave Chad by commercial airline,” the U.S. State Department said in a statement late on Saturday.
Chad’s army said it had destroyed a rebel convoy in the north of Kanem province on Saturday afternoon.
A group of 14 opposition leaders, who had called for their supporters to boycott the election, signed a petition on Sunday calling for a ceasefire to allow for an “inclusive national dialogue.”
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