Nine civilians died in western Chad after a female suicide bomber detonated her explosives in an area targeted in the past by jihadist group Boko Haram, the army and officials said on Monday.
Chad is one of the countries struggling with the jihadist violence that has spilt over from Nigeria’s decades-long Islamist insurgency.
The attack took place overnight Sunday in the village of Kaiga Kindjiria.
“A suicide bomber blew herself up yesterday in Kaiga Kindjiria, killing nine people, two women and seven men,” an army source said.
The toll was confirmed by Chadian army spokesman Colonel Azem Bermandoa.
“It is Boko Haram, There is no doubt,” the spokesman said.
Kaiga-Kindjiria, a village of about 7,000 people, is located near the vast Lake Chad region where militants hide out among islets and marshlands to launch attacks on Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria and Niger.
In August, a suicide bomber killed five civilians and a soldier in the same village.
Militants also killed four Chadian villagers and kidnapped four women near Lake Chad earlier this month.
Boko Haram began in Nigeria but its attacks have spread to neighbouring countries. A faction affiliated with the Islamic State group, ISWAP, is particularly active around Lake Chad.
The suicide attack in western Chad came as French Minister of the Armed Forces, Florence Parly visited the Chad capital N’Djamena, where she met her Chadian counterpart on Monday morning.
Countries in the region have banded together to fight Boko Haram and ISWAP with support from civilian defence committees
In early January, 1,200 Chadian troops, deployed as part of the regional force in Nigeria, returned to Chad to be redeployed around the Lake, where attacks have multiplied in recent months.
The jihadist conflict in northeast Nigeria has killed 35,000 people and displaced around two million from their homes as well as spilling over its borders.
The jihadists have splintered into rival factions, with one group loyal to long-time Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau and the other pledging allegiance to the Islamic State group.