Lake Chad suicide attacks hinder humanitarian assistance

Humanitarian aid agencies say suicide bomb blasts in Lake Chad has hampered aid supply and healthcare in Chad, causing displacement of tens of thousands

Photo by: AP (Archive )
Photo by: AP (Archive )

Herdsmen and others cross a tributary of Lake Chad to the village of N'Gouboua, Chad, March 5, 2015, using the same route the Nigerian refugees used to flee Boko Haram

Aid agencies stated on Tuesday that a series of suicide bomb blasts took place in Lake Chad has forced thousands of people to flee their homes due to the fear of further violence, hampering healthcare and aid supply in the region.

On December 5, four suicide bombers had attacked the island of Koulfoua on the Chadian side of Lake Chad, killing at least 15 people and wounding at least 130 others.   

Chadian Government extended the state of emergency in country until March 2016 and put restrictions including bans on motorised canoes in order to prevent further assaults. However, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) these restrictions impede aid agency activities.

Federica Alberti, the head of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) mission in Chad said, “It is challenging to respond in the region because we know more attacks will happen, but do not know when and where, and we can't go everywhere due to security constraints."

She also added that at least 50,000 people have left their homes because of the violence which the UN World Food Programme (WFP) says has disrupted livelihoods including farming and fishing affecting international trade and markets negatively.

Although there is no claim for the recent attacks, Lake Chad is one of the main targets for Boko Haram militant group from neighbouring Nigeria.

Since the beginning of this year, the group has intensified its cross border attacks in Niger, Chad and Cameroon, the countries have formed a multinational joint task force to defeat the Nigeria based militant group.

TRTWorld and agencies