At least 14 people were killed Tuesday in a fishing village in western Chad by suspected members of the jihadist group Boko Haram, which is also increasing its deadly attacks in other countries bordering Lake Chad: Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon.
« Yesterday, people came to attack fishermen not far from the village of Kaiga, there were 14 dead, 5 injured and 13 missing, of whom it is not known if they were kidnapped by the attackers », explained to telephone AFP Dimouya Souapebe, the prefect of the department of Kaya, where Kaiga is located.
Kaiga is located about 60 km from the border with Nigeria, the birthplace of Boko Haram. « We know that it is always the Boko Haram elements who scour this area, so they are at the origin of this attack, » added the prefect.
« The attackers came in small groups first before being reinforced to attack fishermen in an area called the red zone, which is difficult to access, » he said.
« Fishermen were attacked yesterday in a red zone where fishing is prohibited, » the governor of the Lake District, Noki Charfadine, told AFP, who spoke of at least nine dead.
Spread from Nigeria
« These are elements of Boko Haram who are present in this area, » the Chadian army spokesman, Colonel Azem Bermandoa, told AFP, who confirmed the attack but gave no results.
Lake Chad, although in the process of drying up for 40 years, remains a vast expanse of water riddled with islets and swamps serving as haunts and training camps for Boko Haram, in particular its branch which joined the Islamic State group, ISWAP (Islamic State in West Africa).
And this despite the presence of a Multinational Joint Force (MNJTF), responsible for fighting them and including elements of the armies of Chad, Cameroon, Nigeria, Niger and Benin.
The Boko Haram insurgency began in Nigeria, a country plunged into a conflict between the army and jihadist groups that has killed at least 35,000 people since 2009.
The group, whose name means “Western education is a sin” in Hausa, the most widely used language in northern Nigeria, has spread its violence to neighboring Niger, Chad and Cameroon where Boko Haram cells, recruiting fighters in these countries have swarmed.
In particular in the area of Lake Chad which is difficult to control for regular armies and where ISWAP is said to have gathered some 3,000 combatants.
In Chad, four soldiers were killed by these jihadists on December 2 in the attack on one of their positions on the shores of the lake. In recent months, many civilians have been killed or abducted in this area as well, notably in Chad and Cameroon.
On August 14, an army suicide bomber from Boko Haram killed six people by detonating her booby-trapped jacket in the yard of a traditional chief.