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Chad's capital rocked by deadly blasts

Suicide bombers on motorcycles have attacked the police headquarters and the police academy in N'Djamena, killing dozens and wounding many more. The attackers were Boko Haram militants, government officials believe.

At least 23 people were killed in the twin blasts in N'Djamena, alongside four suspected Boko Haram attackers, Chadian Information Minister Hassan Sylla Bakari announced Monday.

The alleged militants also injured more then 100 people in the explosions targeting two police buildings in the capital city.

"Boko Haram is making a mistake by targeting Chad," Bakari said, speaking on state television. "These lawless terrorists will be chased out and neutralized wherever they are."

The first of the Monday blasts targeted the police headquarters, which is located just meters from the presidential palace and the French embassy. A suicide bomber riding a motorcycle detonated explosives at the buliding, after a security officer tried to shoot him down, witnesses said.

The second bombing targeted the N'Djamena police academy, while cadets were attending a training course.

Chadian police were out in force on the streets of N'Djamena after the explosions.

Combating the Islamists

The African country is engaged in the

regional push against Boko Haram

, alongside Nigeria, Cameroon and Niger. More then 70 Chadian soldiers have lost their lives fighting the Islamist insurrection since the government deployed the troops in January.

Boko Haram has been fighting the authorities in Nigeria for more than six years, trying to carve out an Islamic caliphate, and declared allegiance to the "Islamic State" (IS) group earlier this month. In February, the militia's leader Abubakar Shekau called on people of Chad and Cameroon to reject democracy and to be true Muslims.

"Sit back and rethink. Is your constitution and democracy better than Islam?" he said.

France's ally in Africa

The group has also threatened to attack Chad for their involvement in the regional force, especially after a string of

victories by Chadian troops

earlier this year.

In addition, Chad is also close ally of its former colonial power France in its counter-terrorism operation in the Sahel region, with the French army coordinating their campaign from N'Djamena.

Paris condemned the Monday attacks, saying that France "stands alongside Chad and its partners in the fight against terrorism."

dj/rc (AP, dpa, AFP, Reuters)

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