Chad sentences 10 Boko Haram members to death

By BBC News

_85252808_028737224-1Chad has sentenced 10 members of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram to death on terror charges, after a three-day trial in the capital N’Djamena.

The 10 were convicted over their roles in twin attacks on the capital in June, which killed at least 38.

The attacks were the first by the Nigerian-based group in Chad, which hosts the headquarters of a regional force set up to fight the militants.

In July, Chad reintroduced the death penalty for acts of terror.

Opposition and civil liberties groups have criticised the new anti-terror legislation, saying it could be used to curb civil rights.

The men were found guilty of charges including criminal conspiracy, killings, wilful destruction with explosives, fraud, illegal possessions of arms and ammunition, and using psychotropic substances, according to chief prosecutor Bruno Mahouli Louapambe, quoted in AFP news agency.

The trial had been due to last eight days, but “due to security reasons it was speeded up and moved on Thursday to an undisclosed secret location,” a judicial source told AFP.

Among those convicted was Mahamat Mustapha, aka Bana Fanaye, the man described as the “mastermind” of the attack by Chad’s Interior Minister Abderahim Bireme Hamid.

The June attacks were followed by a blast at a market in the capital in July, which killed 15 people.

Chad has banned people from wearing the full-face veil following the bombings.

Boko Haram had previously threatened to attack Chad, after it sent troops to help Nigeria recapture territory from the militant group, mostly in Borno state.

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Chad has been instrumental in helping Nigeria retake most of the areas Boko Haram had seized.

The jihadists, who want to create their own Islamic caliphate in Nigeria, have killed thousands and forced millions to flee their homes in the country’s north-east Nigeria since 2009.


Boko Haram at a glance

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  • Founded in 2002, initially focused on opposing Western-style education – Boko Haram means “Western education is forbidden” in the Hausa language
  • Launched military operations in 2009
  • Thousands killed, mostly in north-eastern Nigeria, abducted hundreds, including at least 200 schoolgirls
  • Joined Islamic State, now calls itself “West African province”
  • Seized large area in north-east, where it declared caliphate
  • Regional force has retaken most territory this year

Source: BBC