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Nigeria's Boko Haram Rejects Amnesty Deal

Undated file image taken from video posted by Boko Haram sympathizers, which shows Imam Abubakar Shekau, purported leader of the radical Islamist sect, made available Jan. 10, 2012.
The leader of Nigeria's militant Islamist sect Boko Haram has rejected the idea of any potential amnesty offered by the government.

In an audio recording released to the media Thursday, Abubakar Shekau, the purported head of the group, says the militants have not done anything wrong that requires amnesty. He says that it is Boko Haram that should grant the Nigerian government a pardon.

He goes on to say his group's aim is to avenge the killings of Muslims and what he calls "the destruction of their religion."

In recent weeks, religious, political and traditional leaders in northern Nigeria have called for giving some kind of amnesty to Boko Haram, and President Goodluck Jonathan has formed a committee to discuss a possible deal.

Authorities blame Boko Haram for dozens of deadly bombings and shootings in northern Nigeria since 2009. Human Rights Watch says the Boko Haram-related violence has killed 3,000 people, a toll that includes killings by security forces.

Meanwhile Thursday, police say suspected Islamic extremists attacked a police station in the country's northeast, killing four officers during a gunfight.

The overnight attack occurred in the village of Babban Gida in Yobe state. Police officials say five of the gunmen were also shot dead.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.