Boko Haram insurgents killed ninety-two Chadian soldiers in a seven-hour-long attack Sunday night on an army unit in the island village of Boma in the Lac region, which borders Niger and Nigeria. President Idriss Déby delivered the news in a public address on Tuesday, March 24. Reinforcements that were sent to help were also targeted, twenty-four army vehicles were destroyed, and the attackers made off with stolen arms in speedboats. This is the latest in a series of escalating attacks by Boko Haram on the islands in the Lake Chad basin.
Why It Matters
Of the five countries that make up the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJF), a regional coalition around Lake Chad comprising mostly military units, Chad has one of the largest and most experienced fighting forces. That they suffered such a heavy loss in a single encounter raises serious concerns about the MNJTF’s capacity and the capabilities of Boko Haram. Lake Chad has been a site of intense conflict even before Boko Haram arrived on the scene, as the effects of the climate crisis have changed the topography of the lake and forced fishermen to migrate in search of better fishing grounds, drawing competing fishing communities into conflict. Boko Haram has managed to capitalize on these tensions to recruit desperate denizens of Lake Chad, bringing into clear focus the reality that efforts to combat Boko Haram must involve economic measures to alleviate poverty in the region and actions to address environmental degradation.