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Nigeria relaxes state of emergency

May 21, 2013 at 10:36 AM   |   Comments

ABUJA, Nigeria, May 21 (UPI) -- Nigerian authorities said they've relaxed a curfew in northern states as military forces gain ground against Islamic militant group Boko Haram.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency over three states near Nigeria's northern border. The government is fighting militants from Boko Haram, a militant group trying to establish an Islamist state in Nigeria.

The Economic Community of West African States this week described the state of emergency as a necessary and legitimate measure to ensure security, Nigerian newspaper ThisDay reports.

The government of the Nigerian state of Yobe said authorities there were relaxing the state of emergency.

"(The government) urges the general public to continue with the exemplary support and cooperation with security agents to ensure lasting peace in the state," a statement published by ThisDay read.

The newspaper reports that Nigerian forces were able to take control over territory in the region held by Boko Haram. Defense spokesman Brig. Gen. Chris Olukolade said military forces were in the streets ensuring the public it was safe to return to normal activities.

He said Boko Haram fighters had fled toward Niger and Chad as security forces make their way north.

"Advancing troops also observed a few shallow graves believed to be those of hurriedly buried members of the terrorist group," he said.

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