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Hundreds Feared Dead in New Nigerian Militant Attack

Hundreds of people are feared dead after militants attacked a town in northeastern Nigeria, setting fire to homes and businesses and shooting residents as they tried to escape.

Local officials say suspected Boko Haram militants stormed the town of Gamboru Ngala, on the border with Cameroon, and destroyed it during an attack on Monday that lasted several hours.

Nigeria's Daily Trust newspaper cites residents as saying the attackers burned down more than 250 homes and the town's biggest market, along with a police station.

News of the attack emerged one day after the United States said it would send intelligence and law enforcement agents to Nigeria to help authorities find 276 missing girls kidnapped from their school three weeks ago.

Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping. The group's leader, Abubakar Shekau, said in a video this week that the militants intend to "sell" the girls.

Nigerian police on Wednesday offered a $300,000 reward for information leading to the students' location and rescue.



Boko Haram has mounted large-scale attacks on Nigerian towns and cities in the past and is blamed for thousands of deaths since it launched an uprising against the Nigerian government in 2009.

The militants have escalated their activity in recent months, brushing aside efforts by Nigeria's military to crush or contain the group.

The militants say they are fighting to establish a strict Islamic state in Muslim-majority northern Nigeria. The group's name means "Western education is a sin."

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