Boko Harram killed several people in Chad on Friday in its first known lethal attack in that country according to residents and security forces.
Dozens of militants arrived early in the morning by motorized canoes to the fishing village and set houses ablaze and attacked a police station.
“They came on board three pirogues and succeeded in killing about ten people before being pushed back by the army,” said a resident of the village of Ngouboua, about 20 km east of the Nigerian border.
Militants from the Sunni jihadist group based in Nigeria, have stepped up cross-border attacks in recent weeks in their campaign to create an Islamist emirate around the Lake Chad area which borders Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger.
A spokesman for the armed forces said that five Chadians were killed on Friday, including local chief Mai Kolle, a police officer and three civilians.
“We sent in our air force and they neutralized the three pirogues. We are still combing the area,” he said.
Shorty after the attack on Friday Feb 13, residents were fleeing the village and a Chadian humanitarian vehicle was attacked as it tried to escape, United Nations refugee agency spokesman Adrian Edwards told reporters in Geneva.
In Niger, thousands fled the border town of Diffa this week after a wave of raids and suicide attacks by Boko Haram insurgents, who attacked one town and two villages in Nigeria’s Borno state on Thursday, killing at least 31 people according to security, hospital sources and witnesses.
Nigeria has postponed a presidential election that had been due on Saturday, for six weeks, citing the security threat from Boko Haram.
Chad’s army, one of the best in the region, has joined a regional offensive against Boko Haram.
In a bid to contain Boko Haram, which has killed thousands and kidnapped hundreds in its five-year revolt, President Idriss Deby’s government mediated peace talks between the Nigerian government and the group last October.
The negotiations sought to secure the release of 200 schoolgirls from Nigeria’s Chibok but Boko Haram later said it had married off the schoolgirls to its fighters.