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Nigerian President Aborts Trip to Address Violence

Recovered weapons, personal items and bodies Nigerian Islamist sect Boko Haram in Bama, Maiduguri, Borno State, May 7, 2013.
Nigeria's president is cutting short a trip abroad after militant groups killed dozens of security officers in two separate incidents this week.

Government officials say President Goodluck Jonathan is aborting a trip to southern Africa and returning to the capital, Abuja, immediately. They say he will meet on arrival with top military and police officials to review Nigeria's security situation.

His return comes after suspected Boko Haram militants raided the northeastern town of Bama on Tuesday and killed 55 people, many of them police and prison officials.

Meanwhile, officials in central Nigeria say members of a cult killed at least 23 police officers who were coming to arrest the group's leader.

Police were concerned the cult, known as Ombatse, was fomenting violence. A reporter for VOA's Hausa Service says the cult was giving out a potion that members believed would make people invisible and invincible.

The reporter says at least 40 people in all were killed in Tuesday's gunbattle.

Wives of the killed police officers staged a demonstration Thursday, blocking a highway leading to Lafia.

There was no indication whether there was a link between the Ombatse attack and the raid by Boko Haram.

Nigerian security forces have battled Boko Haram for the past four years, with no visible progress toward stamping out the group, which advocates the imposition of Islamic law.

Northern leaders have called for the government to give amnesty to the militants in hopes of stopping the violence.