07 November, 2014

Boko Haram Cast Shadow Over Chad Economy

Though Chad has so far been spared from an attack by Boko Haram, and the fact that the Islamist militants are so close and dangerous has been bad for business in this landlocked country.
Closed borders, security force patrols and the constant fear of violence spilling over its frontier has sent prices soaring and left business owners with worries.
The armed militants of Boko Haram operate in the extreme north of Cameroon which borders their Nigerian stronghold of Borno State a mere 50 kilometres (30 miles) from N’Djamena.
“Boko Haram is just over there, on the other side,” taxi driver Dounama Boukar said pointing across the Chari River that delineates the border with Cameroon.

For now Chad has been spared a direct attack by Boko Haram, whose bloody five-year campaign to carve out a hardline Islamic state in northern Nigeria has left 10,000 people dead.
Yet the threat posed by the Islamists is ever present with bloodshed continuing despite government claims that the group had agreed to a ceasefire last month.
In an effort to protect its borders, Chad has outlawed all vessel traffic on the Chari, its tributary the Logone River as well as its section of Lake Chad.
River and shoreline patrols enforce the ban, leaving the waterways that were once thronged with commercial traffic nearly deserted. Not surprisingly, the drop in movement is bad for business.

“There are far fewer people,” Boukar, the taxi driver, said as he waited for clients in the baking sun at a border crossing from Chad to Cameroon.

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