Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Nigeria: Chad concerned about Boko Haram threat

Chad's President Idriss Deby has called for a creation of a regional task force to tackle the Islamist militant group Boko Haram. The group works manly in northern Nigeria, but Deby said its activities are raising concerns about its threat to its neighbours around Lake Chad.

Chad's leader noted: “Our basin is exposed to insecurity because of the permanent threat posed by Boko Haram."

Nigeria has been struggling to curtail Boko Haram activities for months. The group wants to overthrow the government and impose Islamic law across the country.

On Monday 30 April, a suicide attack on a police station in Taraba state, which borders Cameroon, killed at least 11 people. No-one has claimed responsibility for the bombing, but Boko Haram has carried out numerous similar attacks across northern Nigeria, targeting government offices, churches, mosques and local amenities.

Speaking about Boko Haram activities, Deby said: “I am demanding the creation of a joint deterrence force. We have to make this decision here today," President Deby told a meeting of the Lake Chad Basin Commission, which includes Chad, Cameroon, Niger, Nigeria and the Central African Republic…"If we don't eradicate them, we won't be capable of saving our Lake Chad."

Some experts believe the group is making connections with the al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb, which has mainly been active in the Sahara region.

It is estimated that since Boko Haram first came to prominence in 2009 it has claimed more than 1,000 lives, both Muslim and Christian. Hundreds of its own followers were killed when they attacked a police stations in Maiduguri, northern Nigeria. Its founder, Mohammed Yusuf, was arrested but died in police custody.

Sources: BBC News, Reuters, AFP

For more news and expert analysis about Nigeria, please see Nigeria Focus and Nigeria Politics & Security.

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