Boko Haram militants killed seven Chad soldiers and wounded 15 in an overnight attack in which 63 “terrorists” were also killed, an army spokesperson told AFP on Monday.
“The terrorists attacked our forces at midnight in Bohama … in the Lake Chad region,” Colonel Azem Bermandoa told AFP.
In a statement, Bermandoa said that in response to the attack on the advanced position in Bohama, “63 Boko Haram terrorists” were killed, adding that clearance operations were ongoing and a final balance would be communicated later.
Bermandoa said the Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces Taher Erda and Defense Minister Daoud Yaya Brahim visited the scene, RFI journalist Aurélie Bazzara tweeted.
TchadInfos named the location as Mbohama, in the Kaiga Kindjiri sub-prefecture of Province du Lac.
Earlier on Monday the Nigerian Army said a joint Nigeria-Chad military operation against “Boko Haram terrorists” in the Wulgo area of Nigeria’s Borno state on Saturday left 27 militants dead, but that no Nigerian or Chadian personnel had been hurt.
Last month, Chad’s President Idriss Deby promoted Erda to chief of staff following the latest bout of unrest which culminated in a Boko Haram attack at Dangdala on Lake Chad that left 23 dead, the deadliest attack on the Chadian military by the jihadist group.
Boko Haram’s bloody insurgency began in northeastern Nigeria in 2009 but has since spread into neighboring Niger, Chad and Cameroon, prompting a regional military response. Some 27,000 people have been killed and two million others displaced, sparking a dire humanitarian crisis in the region.
The Multinational Joint Task Force, which comprises troops from Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria, launched Operation Yancin Tafki on February 21. MNJTF spokesperson Colonel Timothy Antigha has said it is aimed at “making islands and other settlements in Lake Chad untenable for Boko Haram Terrorists.”
The jihadist group known as Boko Haram split into two factions in mid-2016. One, led by long-time leader Abubakar Shekau, is notorious for suicide bombings and indiscriminate killings of civilians. Shekau pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in March 2015, but ISIS central only gives formal backing to the other faction, which it calls Islamic State West Africa province.
The ISWA faction, which largely focuses on attacking military and government targets, was led by Abu Mus’ab Al-Barnawi, but last month, audio recordings revealed that ISIS appointed Abu Abdullah Idris bin Umar, also known as Ibn Umar al-Barnawi, as leader. ISIS has not yet made a public statement confirming the change.
ISWA is the dominant insurgent group in the Lake Chad area.