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AFRICA > Boko Haram militants killed in raid in Nigeria

MAIDUGURI, Nigeria - Reuters

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Nigerian security forces killed 20 suspected militants of the Boko Haram sect in a shootout on Aug. 12 as they raided an Islamist hideout in the country’s northeast, a security officer said.

Security forces had intelligence that some members of the group were holding a gathering at a location in Maiduguri, said Colonel Victor Ebhaleme, field operations officer of the military and police mixed Joint Task Force (JTF) in Borno. “When we approached the venue of their meeting point, the terrorists opened fire on the JTF, which led to the killing of 20 terrorists while we lost one soldier and two others sustained injury,” he said.

Group aims to create an Islamic state

Boko Haram, an Islamist group styled on the Taliban, is waging an insurgency against the government with a view to creating an Islamic state in Nigeria, a country of more than 160 million split roughly equally between Muslims and Christians.

The militants have killed hundreds in gun and bomb attacks in Nigeria, Africa’s top energy producer, since they launched their uprising in 2012. The death of Boko Haram’s leader in police custody in 2009 is largely seen as what triggered the uprising.

A military crackdown on the sect in the past few months has had mixed results, apparently weakening it but also fuelling resentment against President Goodluck Jonathan’s government in a poor region that has often felt left out of the country’s oil wealth, concentrated in the south.

August/14/2012

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