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Violence prompts state of emergency in Nigeria

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 1:46 PM EST, Sat December 31, 2011
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, wearing black hat, visits the damaged St. Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla on Saturday.
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, wearing black hat, visits the damaged St. Theresa Catholic Church in Madalla on Saturday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The president called for a state of emergency in certain parts of the country
  • Those parts have seen violence by the group Boko Haram

(CNN) -- Nigeria's president has declared a state of emergency in parts of the country afflicted by violence from the militant Islamist group Boko Haram.

"It has become imperative to take some decisive measures necessary to restore normalcy in the country, especially within the affected communities," President Goodluck Jonathan said in a Saturday address.

His order includes the closure of the country's borders in affected areas.

The last two months have seen widespread bloodshed in northern Nigeria, with churches and police stations among the targets.

Boko Haram (which according to the group means "Western civilization is forbidden") has claimed responsibility for a series of attacks on churches in central and northern Nigeria on Christmas Day, including one near the capital, Abuja, which killed nearly 30 people.

Two days later, a bomb attack at an Islamic school -- or madrassa -- in the southern Delta state injured several children. It's not clear whether it was intended as revenge, but such sectarian attacks are rare in Delta state.

Jonathan said he instructed military and police chiefs in the violence-stricken areas to ensure that life and property there are protected.

CNN's Tim Lister contributed to this report.

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