Fierce Fighting Erupts Between Chadian Army And Boko Haram

From France 24:
Heavy fighting pitted the Chadian army on Monday against insurgents from the Nigeria-based Boko Haram group on islands in Lake Chad, security and local sources said.

"Violent clashes" were under way near Baga Sola, one of the main Chadian towns in the lake that straddles Chad, Cameroon, Nigeria and Niger, a Chadian security source told AFP, adding that Chadian forces had earlier "intercepted fleeing Boko Haram elements" around 20 kilometres (12 miles) to the southeast.

A source close to the local authorities said a "major search operation" was under way for Boko Haram militants hiding out on the lake's islands.

According to the security official, the clashes between militants and Chadian forces erupted Saturday on Midi Koutou island, leaving six Boko Haram fighters dead and 15 wounded. A Chadian soldier was also said to have been killed.

The source said Boko Haram "kidnapped many women and children" as they fled Saturday's fighting, and added Chadian forces had "around a thousand men positioned to occupy all the islands and neutralise Boko Haram."

The source close to local authorities said that, following a request from the central government about two weeks ago, an operation was launched "to evacuate the islands' populations," and that about 90 percent of residents had been moved to the mainland since.

Boko Haram fighters have staged several bloody attacks in recent months on islands in Lake Chad, which they have begun using as a rear-base after being routed from their traditional strongholds in Nigeria in an offensive by regional armies launched at the start of the year.

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