[QODLink]
Africa

Nigeria eases curfew in northeast

Round-the-clock curfew in Maiduguri relaxed as military claims gains in battle against Boko Haram fighters.

Last Modified: 21 May 2013 12:59
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Nigeria has relaxed a curfew in parts of the northeast where its troops are mounting their biggest offensive yet against fighters from the group Boko Haram.

The army has sent thousands of extra troops to try to dislodge the well-armed fighters from territory they control around Lake Chad, along the borders with Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

A round-the-clock curfew had been imposed since Saturday over large parts of the city of Maiduguri and other parts of Borno state, at the heart of the Boko Haram insurgency.

The curfew had raised fears of a humanitarian crisis if food supplies were unable to get through.

Lieutenant Colonel Sagir Musa, a spokesman for Nigerian forces in Borno, said the curfew had been relaxed and would start at 6pm and end at 7am.

Traffic remained at a trickle in Maiduguri, as many frightened residents remained in their homes.

Bases bombarded

President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency one week ago in the states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, sending thousands of extra troops to the region.

War planes were used to destroy fighter bases in remote rural areas on Friday.

The military said it had re-established control in five remote towns in Borno considered to be Boko Haram strongholds.

The military has "secured the environs of New Marte, Hausari, Krenoa, Wulgo and Chikun Ngulalo after destroying all the terrorists' camps," a defence ministry statement said.

Boko Haram has said it is fighting to establish an Islamic state in mainly Muslim northern Nigeria, but has changed its demands several times.

Attacks carried out by the group and its conflict with security forces are estimated to have cost around 3,600 lives since 2009.

Jonathan offered an amnesty on Sunday to any Boko Haram fighters who lay down their weapons and surrender, although analysts say the state of emergency will further complicate efforts to resolve the conflict through dialogue.

The US, EU and rights groups like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are concerned the state of emergency will enable Nigeria's military to commit abuses against civilians.

The UN emergency relief agency and Niger's Red Cross said in a report that around 1,500 people had fled across the border into Niger in the past two weeks, but it had not yet been established what their nationalities were.

370

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.