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Nigeria's Military Wants 500 Tried for Alleged Terrorism

The Nigerian military says some 500 people arrested during security operations in the northeast should be put on trial for alleged terrorism.

The suspects are among 1,400 people detained earlier this year as part of the military's crackdown on Islamist militant group Boko Haram.

Defense spokesman Chris Olukolade said Wednesday that some of the detainees recommended for trial are "high profile suspects" who allegedly trained terrorists in weapons handling.

In a statement, he said other suspects have confessed to receiving training in Mali and other countries on how to carry out terrorist attacks in Nigeria.

He says the suspects include a medical doctor, and paramilitary or service personnel who have provided support to terrorists.

In May, the Nigerian government declared a state of emergency in three northeastern states and sent thousands of troops to battle Boko Haram.

The militant group is believed to be fighting for an Islamic state in northern Nigeria and is blamed for thousands of deaths since 2009.

Human rights groups have accused Nigerian authorities of arbitrary detentions and of abusing detainees in custody.

They have been urging the government to follow the rule of law and either put suspects on trial or release them.

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