Boko Haram launches deadly attack on Chad fishing village

Boko Haram launches deadly attack on Chad fishing village
3 min read
19 December, 2019
Fourteen people were killed in a Boko Haram attack on a fishing village in Chad in what is being seen as an escalation of violence from the extremist group.
Chadian soldiers belonging to the Joint Task Force gesture while patrolling in Monguno [Getty]
Boko Haram launched a deadly attack on a Chad fishing village, a government official said, as the extremist group extended its activities outside Nigeria.

"There were 14 dead, five wounded and 13 missing in the attack" near the village of Kaiga, near Lake Chad, Imouya Souabebe, the prefect of the region, told AFP.

"We know that there are always Boko Haram elements moving around the (border) area, so they are behind the attack," he said.

"The attackers first came in a small group and then brought in reinforcements to attack the fisherman."

The region's governor, Noki Charfadine, said there were at least nine dead, and added that the attack had taken place in a "red zone, where fishing is forbidden".

Recent months have seen an escalation of violence from the extremist group and its Islamic State group-supported ISWAP splinter on civilian and military targets.

French President Emmanuel Macron recently postponed a summit focusing on the country's military operation in the Sahel region until next year following the death of at least 72 soldiers at the hands of rebel fighters last week.

Boko Haram launched its campaign of terror in northeastern Nigeria in 2009, and since then the decades-long insurgency has spilled over into neighbouring Chad, Niger, and Cameroon, claiming the lives of more than 27,000 people and forcing more than two million to flee their homes.

Since 2015, troops from the four countries have been grouped into a mixed, multi-national force in a bid to help fight Islamist militants.

Earlier this year thousands of Nigerian hunters were preparing an offensive against Boko Haram in the region, and in October they received support of the governor of Borno state, which has also suffered the worst of the Boko Haram attacks.

Borno state's new Governor Babagana Zulum, who inherited the conflict after winning election earlier this year, said he is tired of applying conventional strategies against an extremist group that has killed and abducted tens of thousands of people and displaced millions. The unrest has created a vast humanitarian crisis.

The governor recently approved the sourcing of at least 10,000 hunters to help end the fighting.

While Nigeria's military would not comment, government spokesman Isa Gusau confirmed that the governor has decided to "aggressively explore every lawful means necessary in trying to put an end to the insurgency" after consultations with key stakeholders including elders and traditional rulers.

"We need all the prayers we can get, given the task ahead," Gusau said.

The hunters are separate from the civilian self-defense forces that have sprung up in northeastern Nigeria to combat the Boko Haram insurgency.

Usually inheriting their vocation, the hunters are seen as the only group with intimate knowledge of the forests and other terrain in the vast region near Lake Chad. They see their charms and amulets as protection from attack.

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