At least seven Chadian troops and some 40 militants belonging to the Boko Haram Takfiri terrorist group have been killed in clashes in the volatile Lake Chad region, the Chadian military says.
According to Chadian army spokesman Colonel Azem Bermendoa Agouna, the fighting broke out in the early hours of Friday, when Boko Haram terrorists launched an attack against the Chadian army's position in Kaiga on Lake Chad but "were pushed back" by fierce response from the government troops.
Chad is a member of a multinational task force battling Boko Haram across its border with Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon. The force has been created with the aim of preventing a spillover of the Nigeria-based militancy to those countries.
Boko Haram terrorists started their reign of terror in 2009 with the aim of toppling the Nigerian government. In their heyday in early 2015, they managed to control an area in the country’s northeast as vast as Belgium but lost most of that territory over the past year as the multinational task force launched a campaign to eradicate the militant group.
On December 24, 2016, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, who came to power in 2015 with a pledge to eradicate Boko Haram, announced that the army had “crushed” the terror group a day earlier by retaking its last key bastion, deep inside the thick Sambisa Forest in Borno.
The group, however, has resorted to sporadic shooting and bombing attacks in the country's northeast, spreading panic among the local residents. It also carries out cross-border attacks in Niger, Chad and Cameroon.
Boko Haram, whose name means “Western education is forbidden,” has claimed responsibility for numerous deadly terror attacks in Nigeria during the past eight years. The attacks have so far claimed the lives of at least 20,000 people and displaced more than 2.7 million others.
In March 2015, the terrorists pledged allegiance to the Daesh Takfiri group, which is mainly operating in the Middle East.
The United Nations has warned that areas affected by Boko Haram militancy face a humanitarian crisis.