News / Africa

    Chad Merchants Say Boko Haram Attacks Hurt Economic Activity

    FILE - Soldiers stand guard at a market in N'Djamena following a suicide bomb attack on July 11, 2015.
    FILE - Soldiers stand guard at a market in N'Djamena following a suicide bomb attack on July 11, 2015.

    Economic activity has been paralyzed in Chad and northern Cameroon following frequent Boko Haram attacks on trucks transporting goods from Nigeria's Borno state to the two central African nations. During the latest attack, suspected Boko Haram members diverted three trucks transporting goods to Chad through Cameroon to an unknown destination. This marks a change of strategy after the terrorist group started targeting mosques in Cameroon. 

    Naffissa Adja, a sales agent at Arab supplies, one of the most popular shops in N'djamena, says she still waits to be paid last month's salary, as the shop has not received supplies from Nigeria's Borno state for several months.

    She has not been paid because business is slow due to regular attacks on the shop's supply trucks.

    Truck driver Tocba Haman, 45, says he no longer travels to Nigeria for supplies because the Boko Haram terrorist group targets trucks and kills drivers.

    As the terrorists continue to control Nigerian villages, seizing goods and killing traders — especially around Borno state — business activity will continue to decline in Chad, Haman says, even with the heavy presence of the military along roads and markets.

    Boko Haram
     

    • Based in the northeastern city of Maiduguri
    • Self-proclaimed leader is Abubakar Shekau
    • Began in 2002 as a nonviolent Islamist splinter group
    • Launched uprising in 2009
    • Has killed tens of thousands since 2010
    • Boko Haram translates to "Western education is sinful"
    • Wants Nigeria to adopt strict Islamic law

    Abdoul Said a customs official in Chad says three business establishments lost their trucks last Saturday to Boko Haram insurgents in the Nigerian town of Gambarou, which is separated from the Cameroonian town of Fotokol by a 500 meter-long bridge.

    He says many vehicles have been attacked and seized by Boko Haram in the past two weeks. In the most recent attack, the insurgents drove three trucks loaded with goods destined for northern Cameroon and the Chadian capital, N'djamena, to an unknown destination, Said says.

    N'Djamena lies less than 50 kilometers from Nigeria's northeastern Borno state, the stronghold of the radical Islamist movement.

    Chad and northern Cameroon have supply routes originating from Maiduguri in northeastern Nigeria, which is the center of Borno state. The goods are brought in through Gambarou and then Fotokol on the Cameroonian side to Kousseri and N'Djamena in Chad.

     

    Supply routes

    Lawmaker Abba Kabbir of Cameroon's national assembly says economic activity stagnates in northern Cameroon and Chad because the insurgents are still in control of supply routes from Nigeria.

    He says if the border road linking Fotokol in Cameroon and Gambarou in Nigeria continues to be controlled by Boko Haram, economic activity will continue to be paralyzed in Chad, northern Cameroon and parts of north eastern Nigeria. He says their plea is for the military to liberate the road from Boko Haram attacks.

    Basic goods and manufactured items like portable phones, farming tools and spare parts for vehicles are imported to Chad along these routes.

    After troops from Cameroon and Nigeria launched raids on Boko Haram strongholds and drastically reduced their firepower, the insurgents resorted to suicide bombings on mosques and hit and run attacks on trucks transporting goods.

    Reliance on maritime trade

    Landlocked Chad and northern Cameroon also rely on maritime trade from the Cameroonian port of Douala on the Atlantic coast. But supply trucks are also regularly attacked in northern Cameroon by the insurgents

    Chad today increasingly relies on its northern neighbor Sudan for supplies, but instability in Sudan's western border and its spillover to Chad is destabilizing both countries.

    You May Like

    US Internet Giants, EU Reach Deal to Combat Online Hate Speech

    Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft commit to ‘quickly and efficiently’ act to clamp down on use of social media to incite violence, terror

    Video Tunisia’s Ennahda Party Begins a New Political Chapter

    Party now moves to separate its political and religious activities; change described by party members as pragmatic response to political and economic challenges facing Tunisia today

    Virtual Reality Fine-tuned at Asia Tech Show

    Microchip designers hope to improve resolution for users of systems that can turn your bedroom into the ocean floor

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conferencei
    X
    Serginho Roosblad
    May 30, 2016 5:11 PM
    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video Tech Startups Showcase Wares at Amsterdam Conference

    More than 20,000 tech enthusiasts, entrepreneurs and lovers of digital technology came together in Amsterdam recently at the Next Web Conference to discuss the latest developments in digital technology, look to the future and, of course, to connect. In recent years, there has been an explosion of so-called startup businesses that have created devices and applications that have changed the way we live; but, as Serginho Roosblad reports for VOA, there are pitfalls for such startups as well.
    Video

    Video US Military's Fallen Honored With Flags

    Memorial Day is a long weekend for most Americans. For some, it is the unofficial start of summer -- local swimming pools open and outdoor grilling season begins. But Memorial Day remains true to its origins -- a day to remember the U.S. military's fallen.
    Video

    Video Rolling Thunder Rolls Into Washington

    The Rolling Thunder caravan of motorcycles rolled into Washington Sunday, to support the U.S. military on the country's Memorial Day weekend
    Video

    Video A New Reading Program Pairs Kids with Dogs

    Dogs, it is said, are man's best friend. What some researchers have discovered is that they can also be a friend to a struggling reader. A group called Intermountain Therapy Animals trains dogs to help all kinds of kids with reading problems — from those with special needs to those for whom English is a second language. Faiza Elmasry has more on the New York chapter of R.E.A.D., or Reading Education Assistance Dogs, in this piece narrated by Faith Lapidus.
    Video

    Video Fan Base Grows for Fictional Wyoming Sheriff Longmire

    Around the world, the most enduring symbol of the U.S. is that of the cowboy. A very small percentage of Americans live in Western rural areas, and fewer still are cowboys. But the fascination with the American West is kept alive by such cultural offerings as “Longmire,” a series of books and TV episodes about a fictional Wyoming sheriff. VOA’s Greg Flakus recently spoke with Longmire’s creator, Craig Johnson, and filed this report from Houston.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora