The Government of Chad had no other choice than impose a state of emergency in the Lake Chad region, Boko Haram’s gathering point for its fighters. The state of emergency was announced after two female suicide bombers apparently attacked a mosque in northern Cameroon, killing three people. The day before, a similar attack was conducted in Chad, killing two others.
Lake Chad, and this various islands, has been one of Boko Haram’s staging point to launch frequent attacks against neighbor country Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon.
The governor of the remote region, under the decree, has the right to ban circulation of people and vehicles, search homes and recover arms. Health, education and economic development have been a priority for the government of Chad to counter Boko Haram’s recruiting drive in the region.
“President Deby has ordered the minister of finance to unlock a fund of 3 billion CFA francs for development in the region,” an official statement was read on national radio.
Last month, a top United Nations (UN) official said that an 8,700-strong region task force was ready to conduct joint raids against Boko Haram once the rainy season ends, mostly within the next few weeks.
The U.S Africa Command expect that the Nigerian-led offensive against Boko Haram will lead to a “significant degradation” in the group’s activites within six months. The United States also sent troops to provide intelligence assistance to counter Boko Haram’s activities.
Boko Haram is fighting under the banner of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The group has been hit hard by the Chadian army, losing territory, since the start of the year. New waves of attacks were launched and suicide bombers were also used in response to the successful Chadian offensive.
Boko Haram is believed to be hiding out in the Lake Chad islands and in Nigeria’s Sambisa forest. Claiming more than 17,00 deaths and making more than 2.5 million people homeless, they have been fighting a campaign to establish an Islamic State in the region for the last six years.
Boko Haram has an estimated 7,000 to 10,000 fighters and is under the command of Abubakar Shekau. Mohammed Yusuf, Boko Haram’s founder and then leader, was killed in action on 30 July 2009. The group pledged allegiance to ISIL in March 2015 and has improved its use of propaganda since.