In breaking news, three suicide bombings on the island of Koulfoua, Chad, have claimed at least 27 lives and injured 90, the AFP news agency reports. The toll is likely to climb since the attacks occured on market day.
Chad police spokesman Paul Manga says all three bombers were female.
No one has yet claimed responsibility, although the Islamic terror group Boko Haram has been active in the region in recent months. Chad’s government declared a state of emergency in the region last month,
when Boko Haram killed 12 in a double suicide attack on another nearby island. An attack on October 10th claimed 41 lives – the deadliest so far.
The lake is shared between Chad, Nigeria, Niger, and Cameroon. Northeastern Nigeria, just across the border from the attack, is Boko Haram’s stronghold. Over 50,000 refugees have fled from the region into Chad since the start of the year, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Regional Affairs. Thousand of people fled onto the island earlier this year, although it is uncertain if they were still based there,
Residents fetch water and let their cattle drink at the lake’s shore.
The state of emergency allows authorities to sieze arms, to search houses and vehicles without warrant, and ban the circulation of people and vehicles.
Chad’s army has been engaged in an offensive against Boko Haram since the beginning of the year. The terror group has been hit hard, losing territory, and has struck back with the attacks. The militants hide in the lakes many islands, and in the forests across the lake in Nigeria, slipping easily across national borders.
Earlier this year, Boko Haram overran another Lake Chad island, Karamga. Niger’s military is fighting to retake it.
Boko Haram is estimated to have killed over 17,000 and displaced 2.5 million during the past six years.
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