Nigeria’s Islamist group Boko Haram carried out their first known attack on the neighboring country of Chad early Friday, a lawmaker told NBC News.
The attack appears to be the latest example of Boko Haram exporting its campaign of violence beyond Nigeria’s borders and striking nations that have in recent weeks pledged troops to combat the militants. Boko Haram has vowed to carve out its own state based on hard-line Islamic law.
Around 30 fighters traveled across Lake Chad, which separates Nigeria and Chad, in three small boats known as “pirogues” at around 3 a.m. local time (9 p.m. ET Thursday), according to Ahmed Zanna, a Nigerian senator whose state borders the lake.
Zanna, who said he had been in contact with Chadian authorities, told NBC News that as many as five people had died in the attack in Ngouboua, including the village chief, before the militants were repelled by Chadian forces.
“We sent in our air force and they neutralized the three pirogues,” a spokesman for the Chadian military told Reuters. “We are still combing the area.”