Thousands displaced from Chad islands by extremist attacks

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DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — Attacks by Nigeria's Islamic extremists Boko Haram on islands of Lake Chad are displacing thousands forced to give up their livelihoods and flee the insecurity, the Chad director of the United Nations food agency said Tuesday.

In November, the World Food Program assisted more than 60,000 fleeing insecurity, and expects to assist 90,000 people in December, said the agency's Chad director Mary-Ellen McGroarty.

"The situation is worsening. The attacks are more frequent, and the impact on the community is severe," she said. "Many have fled only with the clothes on their backs, leaving their farms and fishing behind."

People are traumatized and feel they have little opportunity after leaving their homes, said McGroarty.

"The concern is that communities are losing their livelihoods," she told The Associated Press.

A triple suicide attack Saturday at a market on an island in Lake Chad killed at least 15 people and injured 130 others, according to a Chad government statement. Medecins Sans Frontieres and Chad security officials, however, put the toll at more than 27 dead and nearly 200 injured.

The Lake Chad region, which straddles the borders of Chad, Cameroon, Niger and Nigeria, has been frequently targeted by the extremists. Chad's government in November imposed a state of emergency in the area.

Two suicide bombings killed at least three people in November in Ngouboua village near Lake Chad. Five coordinated suicide bombings in October killed at least 36 people and wounded 50 others in the western village of Baga Sola near Lake Chad.

Boko Haram's 6-year uprising has killed some 20,000 people, according to Amnesty International. The Nigeria militants have this year expanded attacks into Cameroon, Chad and Niger, countries contributing troops to a regional force formed to wipe out the extremists.

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