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Five dead as troops battle Islamists in northern Nigeria

This picture taken on June 4, 2012 shows Nigerian soldiers patrolling in Lagos. AFP PHOTO / EMMANUEL AREWA

KADUNA, Nigeria: Nigerian soldiers killed four suspected extremists and lost one policeman in the latest crackdown on the Islamist Boko Haram group in the country's restive northeast, the military said on Sunday.

Lieutenant Lazarus Eli, spokesman for the Joint Task Force (JTF) in Damaturu, the capital of Yobe State, said in a statement that the operation was carried out on Saturday in an area of the city of Potiskum that is a hotbed of the Boko Haram extremists.

"Four of the suspected terrorists were killed in the encounter. One policeman attached to the JTF lost his life and a soldier sustained injuries," he said.

"Fifty-nine persons were arrested during the operation for interrogation," he also said, and a cache of arms, ammunition and explosive devices were recovered.

Potiskum, the commercial hub of Yobe state, has been hard hit by near daily attacks by Boko Haram Islamists in recent months, prompting a heavy army deployment.

Boko Haram has repeatedly targeted the security services as part of its insurgency across northern and central Nigeria since 2010.

Violence by the Islamist group and those blamed on security forces are believed to have killed more than 3,000 in Nigeria since 2009.

 

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