Chad decrees state of emergency in Lake Chad region


Chad,November 10: Chad's government has decreed a state of emergency in the flashpoint Lake Chad region, which also straddles Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger and is frequently targeted by Boko Haram Islamists.

The announcement came as two female suicide bombers staged a fresh attack on a mosque in northern Cameroon, killing three people, and a day after a similar attack killed two people in Chad.

Under the decree, the governor of the remote region will have the authority to ban the circulation of people and vehicles, search homes and recover arms, the government announced yesterday following an extraordinary cabinet meeting.

The government added that health, education and economic development in the area must also be a priority, as authorities struggle to stem Boko Haram's recruitment drive.

"President Deby has ordered the minister of finance to unlock a fund of three billion CFA Francs (USD 4.8 billion) for development in the region," according to an official statement read on national radio.

Since the start of the year, the Chadian army has been on the front line of a regional military operation against Boko Haram, whose attacks have spread from northeast Nigeria, its traditional stronghold, to the neighbouring countries of Chad, Niger and Cameroon.

Chad's Foreign Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat, speaking at a security forum in Dakar, called on other African nations to give his country more financial support in the fight.

Boko Haram, affiliated with the Islamic State group operating in Syria and Iraq, has been hit hard by the offensive, losing territory, but has launched a wave of attacks and bombings in response.

The jihadists, believed to be hiding out in Nigeria's Sambisa forest and the lake's many islands, are held responsible for 17,000 deaths and for making 2.5 million people homeless in their six-year campaign of violence.

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