Conflict & Justice

Nigeria: President Goodluck Jonathan declares state of emergency in northeast


Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declares a state of emergency during a live broadcast on state radio and television networks on May 14, 2013.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has declared a state of emergency in three northeastern states in response to increasingly violent attacks by Islamic extremists, who are seeking to overthrow the government.

Jonathan also promised Tuesday to send more troops to Borno, Yobe and Adamawa states to fight Boko Haram, a rebel group that's been battling to create an Islamic state in the country’s mainly Muslim north for several years. 

“The chief of defense staff has been directed to immediately deploy more troops to these states for more effective internal security operations,” Jonathan said in speech broadcast live on radio and television.

“The troops and other security agencies involved in these operations have orders to take all necessary action, within the ambit of their rules of engagement, to put an end to the impunity of insurgents and terrorists.”

Jonathan described the attacks by the Islamic insurgents as a “rebellion” and warned Africa’s most populous nation was at “war.”

"Already, some northern parts of Borno state have been taken over by groups whose allegiance are to different flags than Nigeria's," Jonathan said.

"These actions amount to a declaration of war and a deliberate attempt to undermine the authority of the Nigerian state and threaten [its] territorial integrity. As a responsible government, we will not tolerate this."

But The New York Times cast doubt on the effectiveness of Jonathan's state of emergency declaration, noting previous measures in the past had failed to curb the violence. 

More from GlobalPost: Nigeria violence kills nearly 200 as government's Boko Haram Committee talks peace

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