Suicide attack kills 27 on Lake Chad

  • 06/12/2015
Chad's President Idriss Deby (Reuters)
Chad's President Idriss Deby (Reuters)

A triple suicide bombing on an island in Lake Chad in Africa has killed at least 27 people and left more than 80 wounded, in another apparent strike by Boko Haram Islamists.

"Three suicide bombers blew themselves up in three different places at the weekly market on Loulou Fou, an island in Lake Chad," the security source in Chad's capital N'Djamena told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

He said the explosions on Saturday (local time) had killed 30 people including the three attackers, and injured more than 80 others.

N'Djamena on November 9 declared a state of emergency in the flashpoint Lake Chad region, which also straddles Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger and is frequently targeted by Nigeria's Boko Haram fighters who this year declared allegiance to the Islamic State group.

The decree granted the governor of the remote region the authority to ban the circulation of people and vehicles, to search homes and to seize arms.

The European Union in a statement said Saturday's attacks were "a threat to the stability of the country and the region".

In recent months, Boko Haram fighters have stepped up attacks and suicide bombings on Chadian villages in the lake region that lie close to the frontier with Nigeria.

The deadliest attack on Chad's side of the lake took place on October 10. That attack killed 41 people at Baga Sola, according to N'Djamena.

Since the start of the year, the Chadian army has been on the front line of a regional military operation against Boko Haram, whose attacks have spread from northeast Nigeria, its traditional stronghold, to the country's three Lake Chad neighbours.

The joint operation of the four Lake Chad countries plus Benin has involved 8700 soldiers, police and civilians.

Despite being hit hard by the offensive, Boko Haram has responded with a wave of attacks and bombings.

Their attacks are often carried out by young women or adolescent boys targeting markets, which are at the heart of African daily life.

Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno recently admitted that the regional force, which is not yet fully operational, "has without a doubt weakened" the Islamists but "it has not defeated" them.

Boko Haram fighters, believed to be hiding out in Nigeria's Sambisa forest and Lake Chad's many islands, are held responsible for 17,000 deaths and for making 2.5 million people homeless in their six-year campaign of violence.