Chad has arrested a former political police chief suspected of torture and hundreds of politically motivated killings in the 1980s, the public prosecutors office said Wednesday.
Mahamat Djibrine was in charge of the DDS political police under then president Hissene Habre, who is accused of crimes against humanity, war crimes and torture during his eight years in power in Chad, where rights groups say some 40,000 people were killed under his rule.
Habre fled to Senegal after he was ousted by incumbent President Idriss Deby in 1990.
"Mahamat Djbrine was arrested after DDS victims filed a lawsuit," general prosecutor Massingaral Kagah told AFP. "He is accused of torture, acts of barbarism and illegal detention."
The date of his arrest was not immediately known.
He could be extradited to Senegal, which was mandated by the African Union to try Habre in July 2006 -- though the country stalled the process for years under former president Abdoulaye Wade.
"As things get clearer in Senegal, there is no reason not to relaunch the machine that had been stalled as far as accusations against former president" Habre are concerned, Kagah said.
Senegal and Chad signed an agreement on 3 May to allow special tribunal judges to carry out investigations in Chad into Habre, ahead of his trial for war crimes.
Habre's prosecution, delayed for years by Senegal where he has lived since his ouster, will set a historic precedent as until now African leaders accused of atrocities have been tried only in international courts.