More than a dozen people were killed in a Boko Haram attack on a fishing village in western Chad on Tuesday, a government official has said.
“There were 14 dead, five wounded and 13 missing in the attack” near the village of Kaiga on the shores of Lake Chad, Imouya Souabebe, the prefect of the region, told AFP news agency on Wednesday.
Kaiga lies in marshland in a remote, sprawling region where the borders of four countries – Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria and Nigeria – meet.
The village is about 60km (35 miles) from the border with northeast Nigeria, the springboard for Boko Haram raids and kidnappings in neighbouring countries.
“We know that there are always Boko Haram elements moving around the (border) area, so they are behind this attack,” Souabebe said.
“The attackers first came in a small group and then brought in reinforcements to attack the fishermen,” he added.
The region’s governor, Noki Charfadine, gave a toll of at least nine dead.
He said the attack had taken place in a “red zone, where fishing is forbidden.”
Boko Haram launched its armed campaign in northeastern Nigeria in 2009, killing tens of thousands of people and causing millions to flee.
The spread of violence to Chad, Cameroon and Niger has prompted the formation of a regional military coalition, the G5 Sahel force, to fight the armed group.
French President Emmanuel Macron recently postponed a key summit focusing on France’s military operation in the Sahel region until the beginning of next year, after rebel fighters killed at least 71 soldiers in Niger last week.
The summit had initially been scheduled for December 16 in the French southern town of Pau with the participation of the heads of state of Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger and Mauritania.
France has a 4,500-strong force dubbed Barkhane supporting the five countries fighting against the armed group.