Nigeria deploys 'massive' number of troops


People gather around burnt cars after a bomb blast in Abuja.


Sunday Aghaeze

Already shaken by heavy violence, residents and reporters in northeast Nigeria are now seeing a massive amount of troops on the ground. 

"I have never seen soldiers on the move quite like this before," Ahmed Mari, who lives in the city of Maiduguri, told BBC News

Nigeria has sent huge numbers of troops and resources to fight the Boko Haram Islamists who are attempting to overthrow the government. Military officials announced in a statement today that the troops will be "asserting the nation's territorial integrity" and "enhancing security."

In total, around 8,000 troops will be granted sweeping powers to crush the Boko Haram insurgency. It comes as Boko Haram is developing "chilling new tactics," the Guardian reported

More from GlobalPost: Boko Haram, West African terrorism and the push for amnesty

The fighting tactics cited by the Guardian include sophisticated weapons and forcible conscription. But there are concerns that the government's pushback could inflame tensions and worsen violence. 

The deployment of the 8,000 troops comes after Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in three northeastern states earlier this week in response to increasingly violent attacks by the Boko Haram rebels.

In a live speech broadcast on Tuesday, Jonathan promised to deploy more troops.

Human Rights Watch estimates that 3,600 people have lost their lives in the Boko Haram conflict since 2009. The violence has intensified this spring. On May 7, for example, Boko Haram launched coordinated attacks in the northeastern town of Bama, killing 55 people.

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