A STATE of emergency has been declared in north-eastern Nigeria,
where hundreds of people are reported to have been killed in
attacks by Islamist fighters.
Gunmen from the Islamist group Boko Haram have carried out
several attacks in recent weeks. More than 140 commuters were
killed when gunmen stopped cars on a busy highway and lined up
drivers and passengers, shooting them at the side of the road.
More people were killed, and hundreds of homes set alight, when
gunmen stormed another town, in Borno State. Soldiers have also
been targeted, with dozens dying in ambushes.
North-eastern Nigeria is the centre of Boko Haram, which wants
to impose sharia on the country.
The state of emergency was declared by the President of Nigeria,
Goodluck Jonathan, in May this year. Phone lines in the area were
cut, with the aim of preventing Islamists from co-ordinating
attacks, although critics say that this also prevents victims from
raising the alarm.
The aid agency Hart visited Nigeria last week. It reported an
escalation of violence against Christians and churches, and said
that Muslims who did not support Boko Haram were also being
targeted by the insurgents.
In Bauchi and Kano States, sharia is accepted above federal law,
and Christians are prevented from rebuilding churches damaged in
attacks, Hart reported.
The Bishop of Kano, the Rt Revd Zakka Nyam, told Hart: "The
indigenes [Christians] have nowhere to flee. But Boko Haram is
succeeding in its objective of driving all other Christians out of