Chad to round up beggars, foreigners after Boko Haram attack

Security officers stand at the site of a suicide bombing in Ndjamena, Chad, June 15, 2015. REUTERS/Moumine Ngarmbassa

N'DJAMENA (Reuters) - Chad said on Friday it planned to round up beggars and some foreigners as part of a security clamp-down, days after two suicide attacks on its capital blamed on Boko Haram Islamist militants from neighbouring Nigeria. The apparently coordinated blasts in two police offices on Monday killed 34 people and injured dozens in the largest attack of its kind in the Central African nation. Chad's Prime Minister Kalzeube Pahimi Deubet said the detained beggars and foreigners would be held in a centre in Baga Sola, a town near Lake Chad, close to the Nigerian border. He did not go into further detail on how the round-up would improve security or the nationality of the foreigners. Deubet also said that boating and fishing would be banned on parts of the River Chari that flows into the Lake Chad. Boko Haram militants have launched several deadly attacks around the lake, often arriving in motorised canoes from Nigeria. For its part, Cameroon this week closed the Ngueli border bridge at Kousseri town that joins its Far North region with the southwestern outskirts of the Chadian capital, state radio in the area said. The bridge is a vital commercial route and businesses have suffered as a result of the closure decision taken in the wake of the suicide attack, the radio said. Chad has played a leading role in helping Nigerian forces win back territory from Boko Haram, which has fought for six years to carve out an Islamist caliphate in Nigeria's northeast and attacked Niger and Cameroon. Chad, whose capital is a command centre for a regional anti-Boko Haram task force, has already made at least five arrests. It banned religious head-to-toe burqas this week on the grounds that they might be used as camouflage by militants, though residents say people on the streets of N'Djamena have continued wearing them. Chad has also said it retaliated with air strikes against Boko Haram positions soon after the attacks, though a military spokesman in Nigeria denied this.