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Nigeria relaxing ahead of Ramadan

June 26, 2013 at 12:48 PM

ABUJA, Nigeria, June 26 (UPI) -- Security restrictions enacted for northern Nigerian states will be relaxed so Muslim communities can mark Ramadan observations, a military commander said.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan imposed a state of emergency last month over northern states in response to militancy attributed to the Islamic movement Boko Haram.

Travel warnings were issued by the U.S. government for Nigeria's neighbors in response to the Nigerian fight against Boko Haram.

Nigerian Brig. Gen. Chris Olukolade said security forces would relax their posture in the north to allow for area Muslims to observe Ramadan, a holy month of fasting that begins this week, the Nigerian newspaper ThisDay reports.

Olukolade said security forces have made strides in their fight against Boko Haram. ThisDay reported in early June several fighters with Boko Haram fled across the northern border.

Ernest Shonekan, who led an interim Nigerian government before it was dismantled by force in the 1990s, said through a spokesman he was troubled by the country's trajectory.

"There is no arguing that today the country is actually in crisis," his spokesman said. "The state of insecurity masterminded by the Boko Haram sect is disturbing and regrettable."

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