/ 2 July 2008

Dozens dead in Chad clashes as preacher arrested

Seventy-two people were killed in clashes between supporters of a radical Islamic preacher and police who went to arrest him in Chad, Interior Minister Ahmat Mahamat Bachir said on Wednesday.

The fighting broke out on Sunday night at Kouno, 300km south-east of Ndjamena, when officials tried to stop the inflammatory sermons of the preacher on holy war and the end of the world.

Refusing to receive the officials, saying he was an emissary from God, the cleric sent his followers armed with ”clubs, poisoned arrows and swords” against the police, who responded with firearms, Bachir said.

Of the 72 people killed, four were police, he said. — AFP