The Nigerian jihadist terror group Boko Haram has staged what is believed to be its first deadly attack on the nation of Chad, crossing the Nigerian border overnight and killing a number of individuals. Their passage across Lake Chad from Nigeria follows a deadly female suicide bombing in northeast Borno state.
The BBC reports that Boko Haram jihadists are believed to have crossed the lake around 3 A.M. Friday night, attacking a border village. According to Chadian Colonel Azem Bermandoua Agouna, one soldier was killed and four injured in the fight to push Boko Haram out of the town. In addition, a local chief was shot and killed by what the BBC describes as a “stray bullet.” Agouna added that soldiers killed two of the jihadists and injured five.
NBC News spoke with Nigerian Senator Ahmed Zanna, who told the network that up to five people had died in the attack. Boko Haram jihadists numbered up to about 30 when attacking the village, and the Chadian military told newswire Reuters that they used their air force to expel the terrorists from the town.
The government of Chad announced in mid-January that it would join an international African coalition to fight and defeat Boko Haram, which is headquartered in Nigeria’s Muslim northeast. Chad became the second nation after Cameroon to join in Nigeria’s battle, in a coalition that now also includes Niger and Benin. NBC News notes that Chad is also estimated to be the new home of up to 17,000 Nigerian refugees fleeing attacks from Boko Haram, making it an increasingly enticing target of attack for the terrorist group.
Their incursion into Chad is not an indication that Boko Haram will halt its activities in Nigeria, however. On Thursday, a female suicide bomber believed to have been sent by Boko Haram killed at least seven (some report up to fifteen) and injured twenty others in a market in Blu, Borno state. The woman hid her bomb under a hijab, and her body has been identified as that bearing the bomb, according to CNN. Nigeria’s Vanguard reports that police have arrested two individuals believed to have organized the attack.
In a separate incident on the same day, Boko Haram jihadists killed twenty individuals elsewhere in Borno state. One witness described the scene to Vanguard: “the insurgents riding motorcycles attacked Alkideow village near our village, Mbuta as early as 4.30am but failed in taking away their cows, after killing nine people, before proceeding to Mbuta village by 7.20am and torched several houses and shops.”
Despite the many efforts by the Nigerian military, Boko Haram seems only to be expanding– though, thankfully for the Nigerian government, not south toward the Christian regions of the nation, but across borders into Cameroon, Chad, and Niger. The news of their incursion into Chad follows increasingly vocal concerns from the government of Niger than their Christian population is under siege.