Clashes kill dozens in northern Nigeria

At least 35 dead after Boko Haram fighters attack soldiers and a police station, according to the army.

    Clashes kill dozens in northern Nigeria
    The Nigerian army has claimed major successes in its offensive against Boko Haram in the north [Reuters]

    Clashes between Nigeria's military and the armed group Boko Haram in two northeastern towns have left at least 35 people dead, most of them fighters.

    The clashes broke out on Sunday after attacks on soldiers and a police station, according to the military, and occurred as security forces wage an offensive in the region aimed at ending a four-year insurgency.

    A clash in the town of Bama sparked by an attack on a police base "led to the death of one policeman and 17 Boko Haram terrorists," said a military statement released on Monday.

    Fighting in the town of Malam Fatori after an attack on troops "led to the death of two soldiers and 15 Boko Haram terrorists," it said.

    According to the military, the fighters were armed with "sophisticated weapons" and explosives during the attacks. Both Bama and Malam Fatori are located in Nigeria's Borno state, Boko Haram's home base.

    "The situations in both places have returned to normal," the statement said.

    Thousands killed

    Borno, badly hit by attacks as well as heavy-handed military raids, is one of three states currently under a state of emergency.

    The military has claimed major successes, saying troops have pushed out the fighters. The number of attacks has appeared to have dropped since the offensive began, but violence has nevertheless continued.

    The military's version of events has been difficult to verify since the security forces cut phone networks in the northeast, and access to remote areas is increasingly limited.

    Violence in recent weeks in the northeast has included three deadly school attacks. There have also been attacks outside the areas covered by the state of emergency.

    Bomb blasts ripped through a mainly Christian area of Kano, the largest city in northern Nigeria, a week ago, killing at least 24 people and shattering a recent lull in attacks there.

    Boko Haram's campaign is estimated to have claimed more than 3,600 lives since 2009, including killings by the security forces.

    SOURCE: AFP


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