Chad's national assembly authorised President Idriss Deby's government on Friday to extend by 15 days a state of emergency declared following a rebel attack on the capital Ndjamena in early February.
Deby had assumed exceptional powers for his government on February 14 to tighten security across the landlocked central African country after the rebel assault, in which at least 400 civilians were killed.
Under the former French colony's constitution, Deby had to seek parliament's authorisation to prolong the state of emergency, which gives the government wide search and arrest powers and also permits control of media reporting.
International and Chadian human rights groups have accused government security forces of arbitrarily arresting opponents of Deby on suspicion of aiding the rebels.
Following a request from French President Nicolas Sarkozy during a brief visit to Chad on Wednesday, Deby announced the setting up of an international commission to investigate the fate of two missing opposition leaders.
Their families say they were dragged from their homes by government troops on February 3 in the dying hours of the rebel offensive against the capital. (Reuters)