Four Chadian soldiers killed in lake blast

Chadian Army soldiers drive to Bandikao as they conduct a rescue mission on November 13, 2006 in Bandikao Village, 90 Km south of Goz Beida, Chad. According to Human Rights Watch, in 2003 fighting broke out between ethnic Muro Africans and Arab nomads using primitive weapons such as bow and arrows; three years later the Arabs are wearing khaki uniforms and using assault rifles, though it is unclear by whom they have been armed. Five men were killed by arabs on November 4 outside Bandikao village, which is part of a confederation of eight villages that has a self defense force. The people from the village pursued the attackers and were ambushed and massacred. As a result of the battle forty five people were killed and forty-one were wounded leaving the dead and injured behind due to lack of transport and due to the security situation. On November 13 the Chadian army decided to send a rescue team to evacuate the injured. (Photo by Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images)
Chadian Army soldiers. (Photo by Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images)

Four soldiers deployed to Lake Chad were killed when a mine set by jihadists blew up their boat, Chadian sources said on Wednesday.

The incident happened on Tuesday in the vast, marshy lakelands, where Chadian forces are battling a years-long jihadist insurgency, they said.

“Boko Haram placed an improvised device in the water, which exploded when their canoe passed by, killing four soldiers and wounding about 20 others,” an army officer told AFP, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Dimoya Souapebe, the state representative for the region, confirmed the toll and said the canoe, also called a pirogue, had been transporting troops between Ngouboua and Litri.

Chad, along with Niger and Cameroon, is struggling with a jihadist campaign that Boko Haram launched in northeastern Nigeria in 2009 and then took into the wider Lake Chad region.

More than 36,000 people, most of them in Nigeria, have been killed and some three million have fled their homes, according to UN figures.

The lake’s marshland, dotted with islands, is used as a refuge by the jihadists.

Chadian officials typically make no distinction between Boko Haram and a dissident group, the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP), in their reference to the jihadists.

Six Chadian soldiers were killed in an ambush in the Lake Chad region on October 20.

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