UPDATE 3-Nigeria's Jonathan declares state of emergency

Sat Dec 31, 2011 9:16pm GMT
 

* Parts of border with Niger, Chad, Cameroon shut

* Special anti-terrorist squad to be set up

* Heavy security presence in central town of Jos (Adds clashes in southeast kill 50, last two paragraphs)

By Felix Onuah and Tim Cocks

ABUJA, Dec 31 (Reuters) - President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency on Saturday in parts of Nigeria plagued by a violent Islamist insurgency, and ordered shut the borders with Cameroon, Chad and Niger in the northeast.

Coming nearly a week after radical sect Boko Haram set off a series of bombs across Nigeria on Christmas Day, including one at a church that killed at least 37 people and wounded 57, Jonathan told state television the measures would aim to restore security in troubled parts of Nigeria's north.

"The temporary closure of our borders in the affected areas is only an interim measure designed to address the current security challenges and will be resumed as soon as normalcy is restored," he said.

He added that his chief of defence staff had been instructed to take other "appropriate" measures, including setting up a special counter-terrorism force.

The blasts have raised fears that Boko Haram, a movement styled on the Taliban and whose name means "Western education is forbidden", is trying to ignite sectarian strife in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation and top oil producer.   Continued...

 
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