Chad's leader denies opposition 'witch hunt'

Chad's President Idriss Deby Itno on Wednesday denied he was waging a "witch hunt" against the opposition, after a string of arrests in connection with a foiled coup plot last week.

"What happened last week was a conspiracy, a very serious conspiracy... Some perpetrators and accomplices were apprehended and brought to justice," the president said.

"There are a lot of rumours saying this action (the arrests) was against the opposition, and there is also talks of a witch hunt, but you must not be mistaken. No one is above the law," he said.

At least three people were killed, and several others arrested in what government described as a foiled coup attempt in the chronically unstable former French colony by "a small group of ill-intentioned individuals."

Chad's chief prosecutor Mahamat Saleh told reporters that General Weiding Assi Assoue -- a former defence minister and army chief -- was arrested, along with a lawmaker from Deby's ruling party and another from the opposition.

Chad's main opposition alliance, the Coordination of Political Parties for the Defence of the Constitution (CPDC) said the arrests were made "without mandate and without authorisation."

Several other high-ranking opposition members have been summoned by police.