Up to 15 people have been killed in attacks by three suicide bombers on Koulfoua, an island in Lake Chad according to RT. Yahoo! News is reporting that authorities believe that terror group Boko Haram is behind the bombings.
The suicide bombings took place on Saturday in a busy public market located on the island of Koulfoua.
“Three suicide bombers blew themselves up in three different places at the weekly market on Loulou Fou, an island in Lake Chad,” an anonymous source was quoted.
Originally, the death toll was thought to be as high as 30. A statement released by Chad state television reported that 19 people were confirmed dead, including the suicide bombers, and that 130 people had been injured.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but authorities are said to suspect Boko Haram, a group estimated to be responsible for as many as 20,000 deaths and the displacement of 2.5 million Africans from their homes since 2009. The terror group has also pledged allegiance with Daesh and declared an Islamic caliphate in northeastern Nigeria.
The borders of four nations, Chad, Cameroon, Nigeria, and Niger divide Lake Chad’s many islands and inlets. Multitudes of Boko Haram fighters are said to hide out on the lake and in the Sambisa forest in Nigeria. Koulfoua, where the attacks took place, is reported to be located in Chadian waters.
In November, a state of emergency was declared in the region after more than a year of attacks by Boko Haram on villages in Chad located close to the Nigerian border.
In a suicide bombing in Baga Sola on October 10, 41 were killed by Boko Haram militants. Then, in November, two female suicide bombers killed three in Ngouboua, according to the CBC.
Eight-thousand-seven-hundred Chadian Army fighters, along with Chadian military, police, and civilians have been joined by forces from Cameroon, Niger, and Nigeria and are said to be engaged with Boko Haram in the area. Last week, Cameroon was reported to have killed 100 Boko Haram fighters and freed 900 hostages. Yesterday’s Lake Chad attacks have been speculated to be in retaliation for the coalition’s successful blow against the terror group.
Over 50,000 refugees displaced by Boko Haram are estimated to have arrived in the Lake Chad region since July.
Nigeria had recently arrested nine suspected Boko Haram militants on evidence that they were planning attacks in Abuja, the capital of the African nation. One of the nine suspected Boko Haram members was said to be found conducting surveillance of a “high-profile” hotel.
The U.S. Embassy in Nigeria has issued as warning with regard to information about possible terror attacks by Boko Haram on hotels popular with Americans in the country.
“The U.S. Mission advises all U.S. citizens to be vigilant when at hotels and around areas frequented by expatriates and foreign travelers; e.g., churches, mosques, and other places of worship; locations where large crowds may gather; and government facilities.”
The embassy states that no further information about potential threats is available, but that travelers in Nigeria should remain vigilant and expect a heightened military and police presence, with roadblocks, checkpoints, and other security measures to be in place.
It was recently reported that Boko Haram and Daesh together were responsible for roughly half of all terror deaths in 2014. Boko Haram is thought to have killed 6,644 last year, while Daesh is estimated to have been responsible for the deaths of 6,073.
Boko Haram was said to have been founded in Nigeria in 2002 and to have become radicalized in 2009. The group is lead by Abubakar Shekau and was identified as a foreign terrorist organization by the U.S. government on November 14, 2013.
[AP Photo/Jossy Ola]