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Boko Haram militants launch deadly first attack in Chad

Stephane Yas, AFP file picture | Chadian soldiers patrol the Nigerian town of Gamboru on February 4, 2015. On February 11, 2015, Boko Haram launched a pre-dawn attack on the city

Boko Haram Islamist fighters carried out their first attack inside Chad on Friday, killing at least one villager and a soldier in an early morning assault on a village and a military camp on the shores of Lake Chad, Chadian officials said.

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“They came on board three canoes,” a Ngouboua village resident said.

Chadian officials reported that one civilian – the village chief – and one soldier were killed, with another four troops wounded. Two Boko Haram fighters were also reportedly killed and five more injured.

A security source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the militants had killed at four villagers and one Chadian soldier before the army was able to push them back.

Boko Haram militants based in northern Nigeria have staged a number of cross-border attacks in recent weeks in their campaign to carve out an Islamist emirate around the Lake Chad area which borders Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger.

Chad’s army, one of the best in the region, has joined a regional offensive against them and says it has killed hundreds of fighters in the past fortnight.

"They started firing on everything that moved," Chadian army spokesman Azem Bermandoa Agoun told national radio.

Two-thirds of Ngouboua, which has become a sanctuary for Nigerians fleeing attacks by Boko Haram, was torched in the onslaught, a security source said.

Chadian forces, backed by military aircraft, returned fire, routing the militants and destroying their vessels, the source said.

The attack marks a new escalation in Boko Haram's bloody six-year campaign to establish a hardline Islamic caliphate in northeast Nigeria, which borders Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

The group has killed thousands of people since it launched its insurgency in earnest in 2009.

In the past few weeks it has stepped up its offensive both within Nigeria and against border towns of neighbouring countries, forcing general elections that were scheduled for February 14 to be postponed by six weeks.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, REUTERS)

 

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