Nigeria declares emergency in areas hit by Islamists

by May 15, 2013

ABUJA (Reuters) - Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in three northeastern states on Tuesday in an effort to stem an increasingly violent Islamist insurgency.

Islamist sect Boko Haram has intensified its attacks on security forces and government targets in its northeast stronghold this month, prompting Jonathan to declare an emergency in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states.

Jonathan ordered his chief of defence to deploy extra soldiers to these states to improve security.

Dozens of Boko Haram fighters in buses and machine gun-mounted trucks laid siege to the town of Bama, in Borno, last week, freeing over 100 prison inmates and leaving 55 people dead, mostly police and other security forces.

Days earlier, scores were killed in the fishing village of Baga on the shores of Lake Chad when combined troops from Nigeria, Niger and Chad raided the village looking for Islamists.

"We are facing ... a rebellion and insurgency by terrorist groups which pose a very serious threat to our national unity," Jonathan said in a televised address.

(Reporting by Joe Brock and Felix Onuah; Editing by Tim Cocks and Mike Collett-White)

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