Africa

Boko Haram: State of emergency declared around Lake Chad

Boko Haram fighters Image copyright Boko Haram video
Image caption Boko Haram has launched several deadly attacks in the Lake Chad region

Chad has declared a state of emergency in the Lake Chad region after attacks by Boko Haram militants from Nigeria.

The decision came after at least two people were killed in a suspected Boko Haram suicide bomb attack.

Ministers say sweeping powers to control people's movements are needed because the area, which borders Nigeria, is targeted by the militants.

Chad has been instrumental in helping Nigeria retake most of the areas Boko Haram had seized in northern Nigeria.

But in the last few months, the group has intensified attacks in remote areas around Lake Chad.

Boko Haram is suspected of involvement in the killing of at least two people in a village in Chad on Sunday and three Nigerian refugees in northern Cameroon on Monday.

The state of emergency will give the governor of the region the authority to ban the movement of people and vehicles, search homes and recover arms, the government announced following an extraordinary cabinet meeting.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Chadian forces have been instrumental in helping Nigeria retake most areas seized by Boko Haram

Aside from Chad, the Islamist group's attacks have spread from north-eastern Nigeria, its traditional stronghold, to the neighbouring countries of Niger and Cameroon.

Chad is also host to a new regional force set up to tackle the Nigeria-based militant Islamists.

Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria agreed to establish the 8,700-strong force, but it has yet to start operations in earnest because of reported funding difficulties.

According to Amnesty International, at least 17,000 people, mostly civilians, have been killed since 2009, when the group launched its violent uprising to try to impose Islamist rule in northern Nigeria.

Read more: Islamic State ties broaden Boko Haram threat


Boko Haram at a glance

  • Founded in 2002, initially focused on opposing Western-style education - Boko Haram means "Western education is forbidden" in the Hausa language
  • Launched military operations in 2009
  • Thousands killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria, hundreds abducted, including at least 200 schoolgirls
  • Joined so-called Islamic State, now calls itself IS's "West African province"
  • Seized large area in north-east, where it declared caliphate
  • Most territory retaken by military this year

Who are Boko Haram?

Why Boko Haram remains a threat


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