Archbishop in Chad Sustains Minor Injuries, “in good health” after Police Interrupt March

Archbishop Edmond Djitangar surrounded by young people, during the "march for dignity and justice" on the occasion of the commemoration of the victims of Sandana on 15 February 2022. Credit: Vatican Media

The Archbishop of Chad’s N’Djamena Archdiocese who was injured when the police violently interrupted a peaceful march that he was participating in is “in good health”, a Church official has said. 

The Tuesday, February 15 peaceful march, which was organized in Chad’s capital, N’Djamena, was in honor of victims of intercommunity clashes between herders and farmers that happened in the city of Sandana, in Southern Chad.

Law enforcement agents violently interrupted the march with tear gas canisters, causing injuries to some of the peaceful protesters, including a section of youth and Archbishop Djitangar Goetbé Edmond.

In a video posted on Facebook February 15, the Secretary General of the Episcopal Conference of Chad (CET) seeks “to reassure” the people of God in the Central African nation about the health of the Archbishop of N’Djamena.

“I wish to reassure everyone that the Archbishop is in good health,” Fr. Xavier Kouldjim Omer says, and adds, “He is fine. He has a swollen knee and slight pain on the lower abdomen. It is not serious. So, he's perfectly healthy.”


Fr. Kouldjim who had also taken part in the peaceful demonstration alongside Archbishop Djitangar says, “I didn't have any major injuries either. I don't have any problems, apart from the pains that will surely go away in a few days,” 

On February 8, a young herder was found dead next to his motorcycle in the village of Sandana.

While initial investigations reportedly concluded that the death was as a result of an accident, the community of the young herder claimed he had been killed by the farmers of Sandana and organized a punitive expedition as to avenge the death of their kin. 

On February 9, the herders surrounded the village, but it was on February 10 that deadly clashes were reported to have taken place, during which at least 13 people lost their lives. 

A three-day mourning was declared in the nearby city of Sarh and in N'Djamena after four government officials visited the area.

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Among the victims of the violence was a correspondent of Radio Lotiko, a Christian community radio station based in Sandana, according to reports.

In a statement issued February 12, the Union of Chadian Journalists (UJT) said Evariste Djaï-Loramadji was killed while “giving information to his radio station.”

In response to the violence, a section of Chadians, led by members of the Moyen-Chari and Mandoul Provinces, decided to hold a march for “dignity and justice.” 

In the February 15 video message, Fr. Kouldjim recounts the events leading to the clashes with the Chadian police.

He says, “We left the headquarters of the Episcopal Conference with Archbishop Djitangar, the President of the Episcopal conference and Archbishop of Ndjamena of course. We left for the place of assembly and the place of assembly was the Fest'africa space.”


“We went through the Aigle roundabout. And then we saw the people arriving and so we went to meet them and we got out of our car,” Fr. Kouldjim recounts the events of February 15.

He continues, “We walked with the crowd that was advancing towards the place of mourning and suddenly three trucks full of policemen arrived. They started shooting tear gas.” 

The Catholic Priest further says that together with the Archbishop, they managed to “overtake the crowd and in front of them and the police saw us, so the three vehicles left and we continued our march.”

“Suddenly another contingent of seven or eight vehicles arrived. And it is at this moment that they fired tear gas at us from all sides,” CET Secretary General says. 

He adds, “A gas canister hit Archbishop Edmond on his right knee and another on his lower abdomen. I also took one on the lower abdomen, but we moved forward anyway with the pain.”

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Fr. Kouldjim says that the Archbishop, a section of youth, and he had to retreat to a safe corner because the shooting was getting more intense.

“A lot of young people dispersed,” he says, adding that the shots were coming from “all angles with tear gas. That's when two young people were injured in the leg and in the right forearm.”

The two injured were transported to Our Lady Hospital by the Archbishop who later returned to the headquarters of CET, Fr. Kouldjim says.

The February 15 incident caused an outburst on social media with many appealing for prayers for Archbishop Djtangar.

“I thank everyone for all the expressions of sympathy and solidarity and for taking the time to pray for Chad. I am fine. No panic,” Archbishop Djitangar has been quoted as saying in a February 15 report.

In the February 15 Facebook video, Fr. Kouldjim describes the recent cases of violence in Chad as an “added pain to the suffering of our brothers and sisters who died in Abeche and in Santana.”

“Those who died are our brothers and sisters; they are Chadians,” he says, and continues, “If people want to mourn for those who died, they have the right, as human beings, to do so.

Making reference to the peaceful march, the Catholic Priest clarifies, “We did not go out to protest. We went to mourn our fallen brothers and sisters.”

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.