ABUJA, Nigeria — Nigeria's president on Saturday declared a state of emergency in parts of Africa's most populous nation, after a recent slew of deadly attacks blamed on a northern-based radical Muslim sect killed dozens of people and separate communal clashes in the country's southeast left more than 40 dead.
President Goodluck Jonathan declared an indefinite state of emergency in four states, which will allow security agencies there to make arrests without proof and conduct searches without warrants. He also ordered the closure of international borders near the affected areas.
They include parts of the northeastern state of Yobe and the central states of Plateau and Niger, all hit by the Christmas Day attacks that left at least 42 dead, for which a radical sect known as Boko Haram claimed responsibility. Attackers targeted churches and one of the state offices of Nigeria's secret police.
Jonathan also declared a state of emergency in parts of the northeastern state of Borno, a stronghold of the Islamic sect.
The sect also claimed responsibility for the Aug. 26 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, that killed 24 and wounded 116.
Jonathan said he has directed security officials to set up a special unit to fight the threat posed by Boko Haram.
The U.S. Embassy had warned American citizens late Friday to exercise caution in Nigeria.