African securityChad executes 10 Boko Haram members
Chad said it has executed ten members of Boko Haram by firing squad, marking the first use of the death penalty since 2003. The ten men were sentenced to death on Friday after a court convicted them of crimes which included murder and the use of explosives. Chad officials said that one of those executed was Bahna Fanaye, alias Mahamat Moustapha, described by the Chadian officials as a leader of the Nigeria-based group.
Chad said it has executed ten members of Boko Haram by firing squad, marking the first use of the death penalty since 2003 – and since the country officially abolished it last September. The death penalty was introduced last month as part of a package of anti-terrorist measures.
The BBC reports that the ten men were sentenced to death on Friday after a court convicted them of crimes which included murder and the use of explosives.
Ahmat Mahamat Bachir, the security minister, said the men were executed at around 11 a.m. on Saturday.
Chadian officials said that one of those executed was Bahna Fanaye, alias Mahamat Moustapha, described by the Chadian officials as a leader of the Nigeria-based group.
The Islamist Boko haram insurgency began in 2009 in north-east Nigeria. The insurgents have killed nearly 20,000 Nigerians and droe about 1.5 million out of their homes. The corrupt and ineffective Nigerian military was no match for the insurgents, and the Islamists expanded the area under their control to the south and west.
They also began to launch terror operations against Nigeria’s neighbors. The Nigerian government refused to allow the armies of its neighbors to take part in the fighting against Boko haram in Nigerian soil, but in January the leaders of Nigeria’s four neighbors – Chad, Niger, Cameroon, and Benin – issued an ultimatum to the then-president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, telling him that they had lost patience with the incompetence of the Nigerian military, and that their own armies would go into Nigeria to destroy Boko Haram whether or not the Nigerian government agreed.
Jonathan relented, and the four neighbors formed a joint force – relying in the main of ground forces from Cameroon and Niger, and the well-trained Chadian air force – which began to fight Boko Haram units deep inside Nigeria.
The tide of the war has turned, and since early this year Boko Haram has been in retreat, ceding much of the territory the organization had captured.
Boko Haram is still a potent force, and in June and July, Chad’s capital, N’Djamena, was rocked by a series of suicide attacks that killed dozens of people. Boko Haram had threatened such attacks since earlier this year, when Chad became the leading force in the anti-Boko Haram coalition.
In the June and July attacks, suicide bombers on motorcycles targeted two buildings in the capital. In another, a man disguised as a woman wearing a burqa detonated a bomb outside the city’s main market.
Only last September, Chad was praised by human rights groups for abolishing capital punishment. The International Federation for Human Rights noted at the time that Chad had observed a moratorium on the death penalty since 1991, with the exception of nine executions which took place in November 2003.
The death penalty was brought back last month, however, as legislators approved new anti-terrorist measures in response to Boko Haram’s escalating attacks against Chad.