Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

A landslide victory for the 'invisible candidate' in Algeria's Presidential polls

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - 18 April 2014 (part 2)

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Presidential adviser resigns over "shoe-shine scandal"

Read more

#THE 51%

Breaking stereotypes

Read more

#TECH 24

Galaxy S5 v. HTC One (M8): Which is the right one for you?

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

New PM Manuel Valls outlines priorities

Read more

FASHION

Jean-Marc Loubier, bags and shoes.

Read more

ENCORE!

Hip-hop musician Beat Assailant on mixing the sounds of the city

Read more

  • Freed French journalists arrive home after Syria ordeal

    Read more

  • French journalist tells of release from captivity in Syria

    Read more

  • Divers begin pulling bodies from sunken South Korean ferry

    Read more

  • Syria’s Assad visits recaptured Christian town at Easter

    Read more

  • UK’s Hamilton cruises to victory at Chinese Grand Prix

    Read more

  • ‘Deadly clashes’ at Eastern Ukraine checkpoint

    Read more

  • In pictures: French kite festival takes flight

    Read more

  • Militants kill Algerian soldiers in deadly ambush

    Read more

  • Scores killed in South Sudan cattle raid

    Read more

  • PSG clinch fourth League Cup title after beating Lyon

    Read more

  • Le Pen’s National Front fail to woo Britain’s Eurosceptics

    Read more

  • VIDEO: Anti-Semitic leaflets in Eastern Ukraine condemned

    Read more

  • In pictures: Good Friday celebrated across the globe

    Read more

  • Bouteflika, the ghost president

    Read more

  • Does Valls’ upcoming Vatican trip violate French secularism?

    Read more

  • Ukraine separatists say ‘not bound’ by Geneva deal

    Read more

  • Abel Ferrara’s hotly awaited DSK film to premiere on web

    Read more

  • Obama signs bill to block controversial Iran diplomat from UN post

    Read more

  • Astronomers discover Earth-like planet that could support life

    Read more

  • Indian election: Votes for sale

    Read more

  • In pictures: Iranian woman pardons son’s killer at the gallows

    Read more

  • West African Ebola outbreak caused by new strain of virus

    Read more

Africa

Nigerians flee as air strikes target Islamists

©

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-05-18

Parts of northeast Nigeria imposed a round-the-clock curfew on Saturday as residents fled air strikes targeting Boko Haram strongholds. US Secretary of State John Kerry has warned the military to use "discipline" in its offensive against Islamists.

Residents of northeastern Nigeria were fleeing their homes on Saturday as military jets and helicopters launched air strikes on Islamist strongholds.

The Nigerian military has imposed a round-the-clock curfew in a dozen neighbourhoods of Maiduguri, the home base of the Boko Haram militants that are now the target of a large-scale military offensive.

Nigeria deployed several thousand troops targeting Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states this week after the Islamists seized the territories and ousted the local government administration. President Goodluck Jonathan declared a state of emergency in all three states on Tuesday.

US Secretary of State John Kerry said Friday that he was "deeply concerned about the fighting in northeastern Nigeria" and urged the Nigerian security forces to "apply disciplined use of force in all operations".

Nigeria's military has been accused of human rights violations in the past, including indiscriminate attacks on civilians.

Dozens of insurgents have been killed in the fighting, the military has said.

Boko Haram's traditional base of Borno is expected to see the most intense fighting. In the Marte district, some residents have started fleeing east towards the border with Cameroon, less than 25 kilometres (15.5 miles) away.

"Fighter jets and helicopters kept hovering in the sky and we kept hearing huge explosions from afar," Buba Yawuri told AFP. Yawuri fled from his home in Kwalaram to the border town of Gomboru Ngala.

He said that as the air assaults began, the security forces told all residents to stay indoors, cutting off access to food and water.

The phone network in Borno state has all but collapsed but phone service from Cameroon has been sporadically available in border areas.

The military has now sealed previously unguarded crossings to block Boko Haram fighters from fleeing. The remote region is a porous frontier where criminal groups and weapons have flowed freely for years.

Reports of Boko Haram's presence in Cameroon first emerged in February, following the kidnap of a French family visiting a game park near the Nigerian border.

The abduction was claimed by Boko Haram and the family arrived back in France in April.

The latest military campaign could prove to be the biggest ever against Boko Haram and is believed to be the first time Nigeria has carried out air strikes within its own territory in more than 25 years.

Boko Haram has said it is fighting to create an Islamic state in Nigeria's mainly Muslim north. The al Qaeda-linked group has been blamed for a series of deadly attacks since 2009 that has left more than 3,000 people dead.

(FRANCE 24 with wires)

 

Date created : 2013-05-18

  • NIGERIA

    Nigeria orders 'massive' mobilisation against Islamists

    Read more

  • NIGERIA

    Deadly clashes between military, Islamic insurgents in Nigeria

    Read more

  • NIGERIA

    ‘Islamist militants’ killed in clashes with Nigerian army

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)