A court in Chad on Friday sentenced 10 suspected members of terrorist group, Boko Haram, to death in connection with a double suicide bombing in June that killed 38 people in the capital N’Djamena.
“The 10 Boko Haram defendants have been condemned to death,” declared the ruling in Chad’s first trial of Boko Haram members.
The defendants were accused of criminal conspiracy, murder, willful destruction with explosives, fraud, and illegal possession of arms and ammunition as well as using psychotropic substances.
Chad as well as other Nigerian neighbours Cameroon and Niger have all been the targets of attacks by Boko Haram in recent months. Earlier this year they announced a regional force to end the militants’ insurgency that has claimed more than 15,000 lives since 2009 and displaced an estimated 1.5 million people.
The accused include Nigerian national Mahamat Mustapha, also known as Bana Fanaye. According to Chadian authorities, he masterminded the June 15 suicide attacks that struck a school and a police building in N’Djamena, killing 38 people and injuring more than 100.
Shortly after Fanaye’s arrest in late June, Chad’s top prosecutor, Alghassim Kassim, said the suspect was the “ringleader of a network smuggling weapons and munitions between Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad”.
Chad has beefed up security in response to the recent bloodshed.
The new regional force against Boko Haram is expected to number some 8,700 regional troops and police but has yet to go into action. The force missed its end-July launch date amid continuing political divisions among the nations involved, notably over the force’s right to cross-border pursuit.