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Boko Haram: Borno And Yobe Impose Travel Bans Through Christmas



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Two northeast Nigeria states have put heavy restrictions on vehicle movement beginning on Christmas Eve and lasting through the weekend following fears of Boko Haram attacks.

The two states, Borno and Yobe, have been the hardest hit during the five-year uprising by Islamists, which has included several Christmas attacks on churches.

The military said it had information that “Boko Haram terrorists (planned) to unleash mayhem on some parts of Borno and in particular the city of Maiduguri during Christmas celebrations.”

The security agencies and the state government had therefore banned “all forms of vehicle movement” in Borno from 6:00 pm (1700 GMT) Wednesday through to Sunday morning.

Emergency workers, fire fighters and journalists are excluded from the measure, the military statement said.
Maiduguri has been targeted in waves of bombings by Boko Haram, costing hundreds of lives, while large parts of Borno are currently under Boko Haram control.

In neighbouring Yobe, Governor Ibrahim Geidam announced a series of less stringent measures to guard against the threat of attack.

Vehicle movement in and out of the state has been banned from Wednesday through the weekend, but people remain free to drive within their respective towns.

Geidam said in a statement that “these measures are taken in the best interest of the State and the people.”

Christmas attacks have been a hallmark of the Islamist insurgents who have been blamed for more than 13,000 deaths since 2009.

A December 25 bombing at a church in Niger state in 2011 was seen by some as a key turning point in the conflict, with Boko Haram declaring its intention of attacking Christians.

There were no reported attacks last Christmas, but the crisis has worsened over the last 12 months, notably with the emergence of mass kidnappings.

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