Chad to round up beggars, foreigners after Boko Haram attack

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 19, 2015 11:36 AM

N'DJAMENA (Reuters) - Chad said on Friday it planned to round up beggars and some foreigners as part of a security clamp-down, days after two suicide attacks on its capital blamed on Boko Haram Islamist militants from neighboring Nigeria.

The apparently coordinated blasts in two police offices on Monday killed 34 people and injured dozens in the largest attack of its kind in the Central African nation.

Chad's Prime Minister Kalzeube Pahimi Deubet said on Friday the detained beggars and foreigners would be held in a center in Baga Sola, a town near Lake Chad, close to the Nigerian border. He did not go into further detail on how the round-up would improve security or the nationality of the foreigners.

Deubet also said that boating and fishing would be banned on parts of the River Chari that flows into the Lake Chad. Boko Haram militants have launched several deadly attacks around the lake, often arriving in motorized canoes from Nigeria.

Chad has played a leading role in helping Nigerian forces win back territory from Boko Haram, which has mounted a six-year insurgency to carve out an Islamist caliphate in Nigeria's northeast and attacked that region's other neighbors - Niger and Cameroon.

Chad, whose capital is a command center for a regional anti-Boko Haram task force, has already made at least five arrests. It banned religious head-to-toe burqas earlier this week on the grounds that they might be used as camouflage by militants, though residents say people on the streets of N'Djamena have continued wearing them.

Chad has also said it retaliated with air strikes against Boko Haram positions soon after the attacks, though a military spokesman in Nigeria denied this.

(Reporting by Madjiasra Nako; Writing by Emma Farge; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg and Andrew Heavens)