At least 92 Chadian soldiers were killed in an attack by Boko Haram militants, President Idriss Deby Itno said on Tuesday, reported France 24. The seven-hour attack on an island army base was the deadliest by the extremist group yet against the Chad armed forces.
“We lost 92 of our soldiers, noncommissioned officers, and officers,” Deby said after visiting the site of the incident in Lac province, which borders Niger and Nigeria. “It’s the first time we have lost so many men.”
The attack is part of an increasing jihadist incursion in the Lake Chad area, where the borders of Cameroon, Chad, Niger, and Nigeria converge. The regional militaries have been unsuccessful in coping with the jihadist insurgency.
Boko Haram launched an insurgency in Nigeria in 2009 before launching attacks in its neighboring countries to the east. According to the United Nations, Boko Haram’s insurgency has killed 36,000 people and displaced nearly two million in northeastern Nigeria since it began. Around 174 soldiers were killed in three attacks in Niger in January and December.
Earlier on Tuesday, at least 50 Nigerian soldiers were reported to have been killed in an ambush by Boko Haram in eastern Borno. The attack happened on Monday near Goneri, where the militant group attacked a military vehicle that was transporting explosives and ammunition. The resulting fire led to a high number of casualties.
“The Nigerian military suffered some casualties in the unfortunate attack,” Defense Ministry spokesman John Enenche said Tuesday told reporters in the capital, Abuja.
While Enenche did not reveal the number of casualties, some local witnesses reported the figure to be between 50 and 75 soldiers. The insurgent attack took place when the military was getting ready to launch an offensive against the Boko Haram militants.
Since 2015, most of the countries in the region have come together to form the Multinational Joint Force, a regional coalition around Lake Chad with the help of local residents formed into vigilante groups.