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August 05, 2013

Nigeria Says 35 Killed in Clashes with Boko Haram

by VOA News

The Nigerian military says 35 people, most of them militants, have been killed in two clashes between security forces and the radical group Boko Haram.

A spokesman for the military's Joint Task Force, Sagir Musa, said Boko Haram launched two attacks in Borno state on Sunday -- one against a police base in the town of Bama, the other against a multinational Joint Task Force station in the town of Malam Fatori.

The spokesman said the gun battle in Bama led to the death of one policeman and 17 Boko Haram militants.  Two soldiers were wounded.

He said a separate clash in Malam Fatori led to the death of two soldiers and 15 militants.

There was no independent confirmation of the casualties.

President Goodluck Jonathan sent thousands of additional troops to Borno and two neighboring states in May after a surge of attacks by Boko Haram.

One of those attacks, in Bama, killed 55 people, including more than 30 security operatives.

The shadowy militant group is blamed for thousands of deaths in bombing and shooting attacks since 2009.  Rights groups have criticized the military for a heavy-handed response they said led to hundreds more casualties.