Chad police arrested 62 women for wearing full veils in public as the country steps up security against Islamic extremism following a multiple suicide bombing attack, according to a police spokesman.
Authorities also arrested eight suspected extremists, said the spokesman, Paul Manka.
The first major arrests of women for the veil ban have been carried out in the capital, N’djamena, in line with anti-terrorism measures, he said during Thursday’s briefing. Chadian authorities banned wearing full veils or burkas in public places in June to prevent jihadi attacks, especially by Nigerian Islamic extremist group Boko Haram.
The extremist group had used women and children to carry out five suicide bombings in a village near Lake Chad on Saturday, killing at least 38 people.
Police also arrested eight suspected jihadis in the operation, Manka said.
The women will be released after paying a 100,000 CFA ($170) fine, he said, adding that if they are repeatedly arrested they will be charged with complicity with jihadis.
Boko Haram has used dozens of girls and women in recent suicide bombings in Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon and Niger, raising fears it is using kidnap victims to target countries that have pledged to contribute to a regional force to combat the insurgents.
Boko Haram’s six-year-old uprising has left an estimated 20,000 people dead, according to Amnesty International.