Chad has banned the full-face Muslim veil and instructed security forces to burn burqas seized in the markets after 33 people were killed in twin suicide bombings blamed on Nigerian Islamist group Boko Haram this week.
“Wearing the burqa must stop immediately from today, not only in public places and schools but throughout the whole of the country,” Prime Minister Kalzeube Pahimi Deubet said in a speech to religious leaders the day before the start of the holy Muslim festival of Ramadan.
Any type of clothing that leaves only the eyes visible is a form of “camouflage” and is now banned, he added, asking the religious leaders to spread the message in their mosques, churches and holy places.
Prime Minister Deubet said instructions had been given to security forces to “go into the markets and to seize all the burqas on sale and burn them”.
Anyone found wearing a burqa would be “arrested, tried and sentenced in summary proceedings”, he added.
Monday’s bombings, the first such attacks in the capital of Muslim-majority Chad, have been blamed on Boko Haram jihadists who have previously carried out bloody assaults on villages along the border with Nigeria.
The Islamist militants have used female suicide bombers to launch attacks in the past by hiding explosive devices under their clothes.
Chad’s government on Tuesday declared three days of national mourning for the 33 people killed and more than 100 others wounded in the blasts.
The president said he was “not surprised” the country has been targeted because of the lead role its army is playing in a regional offensive against Boko Haram fighters operating out of northeastern Nigeria.
The group’s leader Abubakar Shekau had threatened several times to attack Chad and other countries that joined forces against the militants, whose bloody six-year insurgency is increasingly spilling across Nigeria’s borders.