Gunmen harass two journalists from Chadian paper

Two editors of the private trimonthly Abba Garde (The Sentinel) were harassed and attacked in N’Djamena, the capital, in December 2012, according to local journalists and news reports. Local journalists told CPJ they believed the attacks were in reprisal for the paper’s critical coverage of the government.

Six gunmen in police uniforms put Franck Mbaidje Mbaidogotar, editor-in-chief of Abba Garde, in a police pickup truck on December 26, 2012, and drove him outside the capital, Mbaidogotar told CPJ. The editor said the men asked him what he did for a living, and then started punching and kicking him. Mbaidogotar said he sustained a fracture in a finger on his right hand.

Three days later, five men wearing military uniforms forced their way into the home of Doumla Moussaye Avenir de la Tchiré, editor of Abba Garde, according to local journalists. Tchiré was not home, but the assailants threatened to kill his wife and sister if they did not tell them where he was, Tchiré told CPJ. Tchiré said he had left his house an hour prior to the assailants’ arrival after receiving an anonymous phone call telling him to leave for his safety.

Local journalists told CPJ they believed the journalists were attacked and harassed in reprisal for a series of articles published in Abba Garde in December 2012 that rated the performance of President Idriss Deby’s government on issues including state security and the use of oil profits. The journalists said Abba Garde had given the president a failing mark in running the country.

Mbaidogotar and Tchiré filed complaints with the police and fled into temporary hiding.