State of emergency declared in Nigeria's violence-hit regions

Christian Solidarity Worldwide has voiced concern about a surge in violence in Nigeria after states of emergency were declared this week in Borno, Yobe and Adamawa States.

The states have seen escalating attacks by militants.

President Goodluck Jonathan said on Tuesday that the measure was being taken to address the "systematic effort by insurgents and terrorists groups which pose a very serious national threat to national unity and territorial integrity".

Within an hour of his announcement, the Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Borno State, the Reverend Faye Pama Musa was shot dead by gunmen in his home in Maiduguri. It is suspected that the gunmen belonged to the militant group Boko Haram.

Last week, Borno State governor Kassim Shettima said Boko Haram was on the verge of seizing control of the state.

CSW's Nigeria branch received information of an attack on 13 May by Fulani gunmen on Zankang Village in Kaura local Government Area (LGA), southern Kaduna.

It is not known how many people were injured in this latest attack and reports that some of the gunmen have been arrested are unconfirmed.

In an attack the night before, gunshots were fired, injuring 10 people, two of whom had to be hospitalised.

CSW reports that 42 people died during similar attacks on five villages in the area in March, with around 4,000 people displaced from their homes.

Last week, coordinated attacks on Bama Town, Borno State, by around 200 militants left around 47 people dead. Last Sunday, a police barracks on the outskirts of the town was attacked by suspected members of Boko Haram. The army was able to bring the situation under control without any loss of life.

On the same day, in Benue State, more than 40 people were killed in an attack by suspected Fulani tribesmen on a funeral taking place in Okpachanyi village, Agatu LGA. The funeral was of two police officers who were killed on 7 May in Nasarawa State.

On 8 May, Fulani herdsmen destroyed property and killed several people including women and children in Agatu LGA.

CSW's Advocacy Director Andrew Johnston called upon the international community to help Nigeria bring an end to the violence.

"Organised violence has been occurring almost on a daily basis, claiming innocent victims of all creeds, and the escalation in attacks by increasingly well armed militants has heightened insecurity even further. Nigeria is currently facing an unprecedented threat to national unity," he said.

"It is vital that the international community fully supports Nigeria as the nation contends with the security challenges engendered by international terrorism and a multifaceted, evolving insurgency.

"The outcome of this struggle has important implications not only for Nigeria, but also for West Africa and the continent as a whole."

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