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ICC Note: Despite a recent offensive by the Nigerian military, the Boko Haram Islamist insurgency seem to be gaining strength. Boko Haram is engaged in a religious cleansing campaign across central and northern Nigeria. Christians and their churches and schools have been specifically targeted, with hundreds killed and thousands displaced. President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency six months ago in the affected provinces. Yesterday, he appalled to the legislature to extend the declaration for at least another six months.
11/6/2013 Nigeria (The Washington Post) – Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday asked legislators to extend for another six months the state of emergency in three northeastern states that have been bloodied by attacks by the armed Islamic group, Boko Haram.
The request was made in letters presented to the House of Representatives and the Senate in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.
Jonathan’s letter claimed “considerable successes in containing the activities of the terrorist element” but said some security challenges still exist. Jonathan said he expects “normalcy will be fully restored” within another six months.
Boko Haram attacks have killed hundreds of civilians in northeastern Nigeria in recent weeks. On Oct. 16, the extremists engaged security forces in a five-hour battle in Damaturu, the capital of Yobe state, in which they burned down an army barracks and four police buildings.
Jonathan declared a state of emergency on May 14 that was approved by Parliament to cover the states of Yobe, Adamawa and Borno. The president said then that Boko Haram fighters had taken control of some towns and villages in the northeast, an area that covers one-sixth of Nigeria.
Thousands of troops and police officers deployed in the emergency swiftly forced the extremists out of major urban centers but the campaign, which includes aerial bombardments and ground assaults, has been struggling to flush them out of hideouts in forests and caves.