- "I have taken part in many operations . . . but never in our history have we lost so many men at one time."
- The attack lasted more than eight hours and reinforcements sent to help were overpowered, becoming targets themselves.
- The attack is part of an existing jihadist campaign in the vast, marshly Lake Chad area.
At least 92 Chadian soldiers have been killed and 47 others injured in an attack by Boko Haram militants in Boma, in Chad’s western province of Lac. “We lost 92 of our soldiers, non-commissioned officers and officers,” President Idriss Deby said. “It’s the first time we have lost so many men.”
Deby added, “I have taken part in many operations . . . but never in our history have we lost so many men at one time.” Deby visited the site of Monday’s attack on Tuesday. The President said that the attack was one of the deadliest in the five-year campaign by the Islamists.
Deby said this as he visited the site in western Chad, close to the borders with Niger and Nigeria on Tuesday afternoon, to evaluate the situation. He promised that the army would review all of its current arrangement to avoid what Boma has experienced.
Military sources said that the attack lasted more than eight hours and that the reinforcements sent to help are said to have been overpowered and even became a target of the militants. “The camp is on an island where the ways in were controlled by the Boko Haram militants, they were able to leave as they wanted and without being forced out by the army,” a security officer said. Another officer said that army vehicles were destroyed, including armored vehicles, and captured arms were carried off in speedboats by the attackers.
The death toll among Boko Haram militants is still unknown. The attack is part of an existing jihadist campaign in the vast, marshly Lake Chad area, where the borders of Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria converge. Boko Haram has stepped up its attacks in recent months on the island of the Lake Chad basin, taking advantage of its terrain to launch attacks.
Dozens of troops have been killed and dozens displaced since the Boko Haram insurgency spread across the border from Nigeria. Boko Haram’s campaign began in 2009 and has displaced more than 2.2 million people across Nigeria, Chad, Niger and Cameroon. The militant group has shown no signs of slowing down on the attacks.
In Nigeria on Tuesday, 47 soldiers were killed in an ambush by Boko Haram jihadists in the city of Maiduguri, in the northeastern part of the country. The insurgents attacked a convoy that had left the city with a supply of bombs and other ammunition.
According to a report published by Amnesty International in December, in Cameroon’s far north, 275 people were killed by jihadist attacks in 2019, most of them civilians. In Cameroon, violence has since increased in 2019 and early 2020. In Niger, on the other hand, 174 soldiers were killed in three attacks between December and January this year.