SHAFAQNA – Authorities in the north of Nigeria have restricted travel over the Christmas period amid fears of “massive” terrorist attacks by Boko Haram against Christian targets. Troops in Borno state, home to the Islamist insurgency, ordered a “ban on all forms of vehicular movement” from 6pm on Christmas eve to 7am on Sunday.
In neighbouring Yobe state, soldiers issued a ban on vehicles crossing state lines. There is already a curfew prohibiting movement at night. In Adamawa, to Borno’s south, the use of motor rickshaws was banned for fear that they might be used to transport suicide bombers. All three provinces have been under a state of emergency since June 2013, when President Jonathan of Nigeria warned that Boko Haram threatened the territorial integrity of the country.
Colonel Sani Usman, an army spokesman, said the bans were introduced because the military had intelligence to suggest that Boko Haram was planning “massive attacks”, especially in Maiduguri, Borno’s state capital. Boko Haram has been fighting an insurgency since 2009 when Mohammed Yusuf, its founder, was killed in police custody.
The group claims to be fighting for an Islamic state in Nigeria, and has killed thousands of civilians.