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Nigeria imposes 24-hr curfew on Damaturu over Islamist clashes

The authorities in Nigeria have imposed a 24-hour curfew on the north-eastern city of Damaturu after clashes between Islamist militants and the army intensified overnight.

Nigerian cities attack boko haramEnlarge
In November, a police patrol pick-up truck in Damaturu was struck by a bomb that the Islamist group, Boko Haram, claimed responsibility for attacking. (Pius Utomi Ekpei/AFP/Getty Images)

The authorities in Nigeria have imposed a 24-hour curfew on the north-eastern city of Damaturu after clashes between Islamist militants and the army intensified overnight.

"In view of the prevailing security situation in the State Capital, Governor Ibrahim Gaidam has approved the immediate imposition of a 24-hour curfew within Damaturu metropolis," a government statement issued on Tuesday read, according to Reuters.

"Residents are hereby directed to remain in their homes while officers and men of the Joint Task force and other security agencies continue with their effort to ensure peace and security and the protection of life and property."

An official at Damaturu hospital told the Agence France Presse that while gunfire which broke out Monday and continued into Tuesday had left a number of people dead, the ongoing violence meant it was too dangerous for rescue workers to attempt to reach them:

"We have been holed up in the hospital since yesterday. We can't leave because it is not safe to go out. The morgue is empty now although there are dead bodies on the street. Fighting is still going on in some parts of the city and the streets are totally deserted," he told the news agency.

More from GlobalPost: Curfew declared in Kaduna after church bombings, reprisal attacks

The imposition of a curfew in Damaturu comes a day after similar measures were adopted in the northern state of Kaduna, following a series of multiple suicide attacks on churches on Sunday which killed 16 and subsequent reprisal attacks against Muslims which left dozens dead, GlobalPost reported.

The radical Islamist sect Boko Haram – which seeks the imposition of Sharia across Nigeria and has instigated a wave of attacks across the country – claimed responsibility for the church bombings, according to the BBC.

In late December clashes between Nigerian troops and Boko Haram militants in Damaturu killed at least 50 people.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/nigeria/120619/nigeria-imposes-24-hr-curfew-damaturu-over-islamist-clashes