Eight Chadian soldiers died and 11 were injured in a Boko Haram attack in the Lake Chad region on Wednesday, October 10, with 48 jihadists killed as the army retaliated, a military spokesperson said.
“Boko Haram terrorists attacked defense forces positions early this morning in Kaiga Kindji,” spokesperson Colonel Azem told AFP, saying the attack had been “vigorously” repulsed.
Boko Haram took up arms in 2009 in pursuit of an Islamic state in northern Nigeria. More than 27,000 people have been killed during the nine-year insurgency, which has spread to neighboring states bordering Lake Chad.
Chad, Cameroon and Niger have all joined the military effort by Nigeria to crush Boko Haram. Chad has seen a recent increase in attacks by the group.
A Chadian soldier was killed earlier this month after Boko Haram launched a mortar attack on a military camp in Litri, close to the Nigeria border.
On September 29, Chadian troops killed 17 Boko Haram militants in a counter-offensive after six people were killed in overnight attacks on Moussarom and Ngueleya in the Lake Chad region.
The previous Boko Haram attack on the Chadian side of the lake happened on July 22 in which 18 people were killed in a village south of Daboua near the border with Niger.
The insurgency and military operations around Lake Chad have displaced 2.4 million people and about 11 million people in Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon rely on humanitarian assistance to survive, a group of NGOs said in August.
Boko Haram is divided into two factions that have competing goals and operational methods. One, led by Abubakar Shekau, is notorious for suicide bombings and indiscriminate killings of civilians. The other, known as Islamic State West Africa Province and led by Abu Mus’ab Al-Barnawi, largely focuses on attacking military and government targets.
ISWAP is dominant around the shores of Lake Chad in Nigeria’s Borno state, while the Shekau-led faction is concentrated in rural areas of the state.
More radical elements are said to have taken over the ISWAP leadership, prompting fears of an upsurge in violence against the local population. ISWAP has previously vowed to hit only military and government “hard” targets.
G5 Sahel joint force operations
Wednesday’s attack comes after France’s Minister for the Armed Forces Florence Parly visited Chad during two days of meetings with regional officials.
Parly said on Monday that the G5 Sahel Joint Force has scheduled three operations for the coming weeks.
The operations are planned in each of the joint force’s three zones of operation: the Mali-Mauritania border; the border region between Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger; and the Niger-Chad border.
It is set to expand to 5,000 troops, but the force is ill-equipped, and more than €400 million pledged at an international donor conference in Brussels on February 23 has been slow to materialize.
With reporting from AFP