Militants from the Nigerian terrorist group Boko Haram have attacked villages in the neighbouring country of Chad, for the first time since their insurgency began five years ago.
Overnight, Boko Haram militants carried out a series of attacks in Chad, a neighbouring country to Boko Haram’s home nation of Nigeria. It is the first ever assault on Chadian territory since the Boko Haram insurgency began five years ago.
Fighters crossed Lake Chad in four motorboats and attacked a village, an army spokesman told the BBC.
The Islamist militants were pushed back by Chadian troops after killing several people, residents said.
Chad recently joined Nigeria, Niger, and Cameroon in a military coalition against Boko Haram.
The jihadists, who want to create their own Islamic caliphate in Nigeria, have killed thousands and forced millions to flee their homes in the country’s north-east Nigeria since 2009.
Colonel Azem Bermandoua Agouna, of the Chadian military, told press that the militants had killed one soldier and wounded a further four in the village of Ngouboua.
Mr Agouna said a local chief was killed during the attack by a stray bullet. He did not confirm reports of other civilian casualties.
Two Boko Haram militants were killed and five injured, he said.
Residents put the number of attackers at around 30 and said they torched two-thirds of the village’s homes.
“They came on board three canoes and succeeded in killing about 10 people before being pushed back by the army,” one resident told Reuters.
Chadian military aircraft carried out air strikes against the militants in response, destroying their vessels, officials said.
Chad formed a military alliance in January with Nigeria, Niger, and Cameroon, aimed at defeating Boko Haram.
Chad, seen as having the region’s most effective military, has conducted airstrikes against the jihadist group in both Nigeria and Niger, and stationed its troops in the border areas around Lake Chad.
The Islamist militant group has intensified its attacks against Nigeria’s neighbours in response, forcing thousands of residents to flee their homes.
Approximately 7,000 people fled to Ngouboua after Boko Haram attacked the Nigerian border town of Baga in January.
Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau denounced the president of Chad, Idriss Deby, in a video released shortly after the coalition was formed and declared “war” on Chad.
The militants have also continued their insurgency in north-eastern Nigeria – at least 21 people were killed on Thursday in two separate attacks in Borno State, witnesses told AFP.
Militants killed 12 people in the village of Akida and nine in the village of Mbuta, community leader Mustapha Abbagini said.