Chad extends state of emergency over Boko Haram attacks

N'DJAMENA (Reuters) - Chad's national assembly extended a state of emergency in the western Lake Chad region by four months on Wednesday following a double attack by Boko Haram militants that killed some 12 people. "The state of emergency is prolonged by 147 unanimous votes by the parliament for four months. That is to say it will end on March 22," a ruling party deputy told Reuters. The initial emergency was authorized on Nov. 9 and was set to last 12 days. The government wanted a six-month extension but deputies opposed it, another deputy told Reuters. Chad helped force Boko Haram to cede territory earlier this year, undermining the Islamist group's six-year campaign to carve out a Nigerian caliphate. The rebels have since ramped up attacks in remote border areas around Lake Chad. Oil-producing Chad is a key ally in the fight against the Islamist threat across West Africa, playing a central role in offensives on al Qaeda-linked groups in Mali and Boko Haram militants in neighboring Nigeria. There has not been a state of emergency in Chad, one of Africa's military heavyweights, since a series of rebellions in the 2000s springing from its volatile east. Neighboring Niger also has a state of emergency in its border region of Diffa. (Reporting by Madjiasra Nako; Writing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg; Editing by Sandra Maler)