Chad extends state of emergency

2016-04-26 22:07
Chadian soldiers escorting a group of journalists ride on trucks and pickups in the city of Damasak, Nigeria. (Jerome Delay, AP)

Chadian soldiers escorting a group of journalists ride on trucks and pickups in the city of Damasak, Nigeria. (Jerome Delay, AP)

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N'Djamena - Chad on Tuesday extended by six months the state of emergency imposed in the Lake Chad region in response to cross-border attacks by Boko Haram jihadists, national radio said.

Members of the National Assembly voted unanimously to extend the state of emergency, which has been in force since November 9.

Security Minister Ahmat Mahamat Bachir told public radio that the measure would help diminish Nigeria-based Boko Haram's capacity to operate in Chad.

"This six month extension will allow us to put these Boko Haram devils, who attack where and when they can, where they can't do any harm," he said.

"We must reinforce the security in the region of Lake Chad and beyond, even nationwide, to thwart them."

Though cross-border attacks by the Islamist radicals have diminished in recent months, two suicide attacks killed three people and injured 56 in January in Guite and Miterine, areas in the region of Lake Chad.

Lake Chad itself has several islands which have been evacuated at the request of the Chadian army.

The area around the lake has thick vegetation which has helped the jihadists to pass into Chad undetected.

In a bid to detect would-be female suicide bombers, a favourite Boko Haram tactic, Chad has banned the Islamic face veil in a bid to help identify women carrying explosive belts before they are able to attack.

Since 2015, the four countries that share Lake Chad - Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger - have significantly weakened Boko Haram but have been unable to vanquish it entirely.

An estimated 20 000 people have been killed since Boko Haram launched its campaign of violence in 2009 to carve out a hardline Islamic state in northeast Nigeria and beyond.

More than 2.6 million people have fled their homes since, but some of the displaced have recently begun returning after the Nigerian military retook swathes of territory from the insurgents.

Read more on:    boko haram  |  chad  |  central africa

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