Nigerian leaders critical of Boko Haram treatment in north

May 20, 2013 at 12:11 PM

ABUJA, Nigeria, May 20 (UPI) -- Nigerian militant group Boko Haram is getting some level of protection from lawmakers in northern states, their critics contend.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency over three northeastern states in response to a lingering insurgency from Islamic militant group Boko Haram.

Jonathan said in a Monday statement that Nigerians were thanked for their support during the emergency. Operations against Boko Haram were yielding results and the offensive would last "as last as it takes," Nigerian newspaper ThisDay reports.

Lawmakers and business leaders from central Nigeria blamed northern lawmakers for turning a blind eye to Boko Haram's campaign to form an Islamic state.

"Boko Haram is acting out the script the leaders wrote for it," the so-called Middle Belt Dialogue was quoted by ThisDay as saying.

Jonathan is a Christian. The leaders said Boko Haram was suspected of separating Muslims from Christians and executing the latter.

At least 200 people died and more than 2,000 homes were destroyed in a recent military raid seen as a response to a Boko Haram attack on area police.

The United Nations warned all parties to the conflict to respect the rule of law.

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