Bloomberg News

Nigerian Forces Kill 20 Islamists as Leader Shekau Denies Truce

March 03, 2013

Nigerian Forces Kill 20 Islamists as Leader Shekau Denies Truce

Nigerian police patrol the streets in the city of Bauchi, Nigeria. Photographer: Tony Karumba/AFP via Getty Images

Nigerian security forces killed 20 Boko Haram militants in a clash in the northeastern town of Monguno, a day after their leader denied he agreed to a truce with the government, a military spokesman said.

Troops destroyed three four-wheel-drive vehicles and eight motorbikes and recovered weapons including rocket-propelled grenades used by the attackers, Sagir Musa, a spokesman for the joint military task force in charge of security in the region, said today in an e-mailed statement. In a separate operation, soldiers arrested two commanders of the militants, he said.

Abubakar Shekau, leader of Boko Haram, which wants to impose Islamic rule in Africa’s biggest oil producer, in an audio statement e-mailed to reporters yesterday denounced a cease-fire announced on Jan. 29 by Abu Mohammed Ibn Abdulaziz, a self-proclaimed spokesman. “I will swear, I don’t even know him,” Shekau said, adding that a truce isn’t possible while security forces are holding his followers including “women and children.”

Hundreds of people have died in the uprising started by the Islamist group in 2009. Boko Haram, which means “Western education is a sin,” has carried out bomb and gun attacks in the mainly Muslim north and Abuja, the capital. Nigeria’s more than 160 million people are almost evenly split between a mainly Muslim north and a largely Christian south.

To contact the reporters on this story: Gbenga Akingbule in Maiduguri at gakingbule@bloomberg.net; Ardo Hazzad in Bauchi at ahazzad@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net


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