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May 16, 2013

Nigeria Launches Massive Offensive Against Islamists

by VOA News

Nigeria says it has launched a "massive deployment of men and resources against Islamist insurgents, a day after the country's president declared a state of emergency in three northeastern states.

The Nigerian military said in a statement Wednesday it is aiming to rid the nation's border territories of terrorist bases."

​​In Washington , the U.S. State Department urged Nigeria to keep human rights in mind as it goes after the insurgents.

"We call on Nigerian officials to ensure that security forces protect civilians in a security response, in a way that respects human rights, and the rule of law. And to ensure that recent incidents in the north, including the violence in Baga,are fully investigated and those responsible are held accountable," State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said.

On Tuesday, President Goodluck Jonathan said Nigeria is facing a rebellion in the north and acknowledged that Boko Haram militants have taken over parts of Borno state.

Boko Haram has fought the government since 2009, killing hundreds of people in bomb and gun attacks that often target churches, officials, and law enforcement.

The disruptive group seeks to impose Islamic law across northern Nigeria.