A triple suicide bombing on Saturday at a market on an island in Lake Chad killed at least 15 people and injured 130, according to Chad’s government. A top police official blamed the carnage on Nigeria’s Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram.
The three explosions on Koulfoua were carried out by females, said Chad police spokesman Paul Manga.
Police, military and local officials had earlier said at least 27 people were killed and 90 injured. The government on national radio later said at least 15 died, in three explosions.
The Lake Chad region, which straddles the borders of Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria, has been regularly targeted by terrorists. Chad’s government in November imposed a state of emergency in the area.
Chad’s director general of the gendarmerie, Gen. Banyaman Cossingar, said Boko Haram was suspected in Saturday’s attacks.
Two suicide bombings, also carried out by women, killed at least three people in November in Ngouboua village near Lake Chad. Five co-ordinated suicide bombings in October killed at least 36 people and wounded 50 others in the western village of Baga Sola near Lake Chad which is home to thousands of Nigerians who have fled the terrorists’ violence.
Boko Haram’s 6-year uprising has killed some 20,000 people. The Nigerian terrorists have this year expanded attacks into Cameroon, Chad and Niger, countries contributing troops to a regional force formed to wipe out the terrorists. Forces from Nigeria and neighboring Chad earlier this year drove the terrorists out of cities and towns in north-eastern Nigeria where they had proclaimed an Islamic caliphate.
Troops from Cameroon, Nigeria, Chad and Benin had last week launched operations in the Lake Chad region and the Sambisa Forest, arresting 100 terrorists, killing 100 others and freeing 900 hostages, according to Cameroon’s government.
The bombings in Chad come as Nigeria’s intelligence agency says it has arrested nine alleged Boko Haram terrorists plotting attacks on Abuja, the capital, over the next few weeks. Saturday’s statement follows a warning on Friday from the U.S. Embassy that terrorists may be planning attacks on hotels favored by Westerners.
One of the nine men arrested was carrying out surveillance of a “high-profile hotel,” said Nigeria’s Department of State Security. It said all nine were detained in the past month and had infiltrated Abuja, in central Nigeria, from the country’s north-eastern area where most terror attacks occur.