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Missing Chadian opposition leader is alive

Latest update : 2008-03-02

The son of Ngarlejy Yorongar, one of two missing senior Chadian opposition figures, said that his father is alive. There is still no trace of opposition spokesman Ibni Oumar Mahamat Saleh.

The son of Ngarlejy Yorongar, one of two missing senior Chadian opposition figures, said Saturday that his father was alive, saying they had spoken by telephone.

"I spoke to my father on the phone about an hour ago. He called me," Rokoulmian Yorongar told AFP in Paris.

Until now, no one had heard from Yorongar, a veteran politician, since he disappeared on February 3 during a rebel attack on the Chad capital, Ndjamena.

Rights groups and his allies say he and two other opposition figures were stopped by the army. France, the closest ally of Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno, had demanded an enquiry into the missing opposition figures.

"He told me that he is alive and that for as long as he does not feel secure he prefers not to say anything for the moment," Rokoulmian Yorongar added, saying his conversation had lasted "hardly even two minutes".

"As long as I haven't seen him I can't say whether he is being held or not," he said, adding that he did not know where his father had called from and his number did not appear.

Earlier Saturday, the magazine Afrique Education published an interview with Yorongar in which he says he was stopped by the Chadian army on February 3 and was then forced to flee to Cameroon.

Yorongar went missing along with former Chadian president Lol Mahamat Choua and Ibni Oumar Mahamat Saleh, spokesman for the main opposition coalition.

Lol was said to have been "found" by the government on February 14. He was placed under house arrest just before a visit by French President Nicolas Sarkozy to Chad this week, then allowed freedom of movement afterwards.

Date created : 2008-03-01