Suspected Nigerian Boko Haram fighters attacked a village in Chad early Friday, marking the first such violence against the country contributing the most military might to what is increasingly becoming a regional fight with the armed group.
Dozens of Boko Haram fighters arrived in the early hours of the morning on motorized canoes at the fishing village on the shores of Lake Chad, setting houses ablaze and attacking a police station.
"They came on board three pirogues (small boats) and succeeded in killing about 10 people before being pushed back by the army," said a resident of the village of Ngouboua, about 12 miles east of the Nigerian border.
Other local sources told Reuters said that the death toll was lower, at between three and five. The local chief, Mai Kolle, was killed in an exchange of gunfire with the army, the sources said.
The group, which has killed thousands and kidnapped hundreds in its bid to establish a state in northern Nigeria, has expanded its attacks against neighboring countries over the past week following threats to punish any nations contributing to the fight against the terror group. Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Benin have pledged to send military support. Chadian soldiers are already fighting Boko Haram fighters inside Cameroon and Nigeria. The multinational force to fight Boko Haram is expected to be formally launched in the coming weeks.
Chadian President Idriss Deby's government mediated peace talks between the Nigerian government and the group last October. The talks sought to secure the release of 200 schoolgirls from Nigeria's Chibok region. Despite an international outcry against the kidnappings, Boko Haram briefly seized the town of Chibok where the majority of the kidnapped girls were from in November 2014, underlining what many analysts have called the Nigerian military's weakness and inability to successfully combat the armed group.
Chad is also the base for a French regional counter-insurgency operation, "Barkhane," which provides intelligence and logistical support to the Chadian army in its fight against regional armed groups. A source in Barkhane reached by telephone in N'Djamena told Reuters he was not immediately aware of the attack.
Nigeria has postponed for six weeks a presidential election that had been due on Saturday, citing the security threat from Boko Haram.