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Scores of police officers killed in central Nigeria

By CNN Staff
May 10, 2013 -- Updated 1030 GMT (1830 HKT)
A vehicle burnt by the Islamist group Boko Haram is pictured in the northeastern town of Bama on Tuesday.
A vehicle burnt by the Islamist group Boko Haram is pictured in the northeastern town of Bama on Tuesday.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • There is no immediate claim of responsibility for the deaths in central Nigeria
  • Officials say two soldiers died in attacks Tuesday; President Jonathan says dozens died
  • More than 100 Boko Haram militants took part in the Tuesday attacks, police said

(CNN) -- Scores of police officers have been killed during attacks in Nasarawa state in central Nigeria, the Nigerian Police High Command said Thursday.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

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In apparently unrelated incidents on Tuesday, two Nigerian soldiers were killed farther northeast, in the city of Bama in Borno state, during coordinated attacks on multiple targets by more than 100 Boko Haram militants armed with machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and anti-aircraft weapons mounted on vehicles, said Joint Task Force spokesman Lt. Col. Sagir Musa.

On Wednesday, President Goodluck Jonathan said that dozens of people had been killed in Tuesday's attack, according to a statement from his adviser, Reuben Abati.

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At least 13 suspected militants were also killed during the attacks, police said.

Musa said Boko Haram launched the attacks early Tuesday on a military barracks, a police division station, a magistrate courthouse and a health center. The militants also attacked a prison, freeing scores of inmates.

Abati, speaking Wednesday, said, "President Jonathan believes that the continuation of such callous and wanton attacks on innocent Nigerians, government facilities and security formations flies in the face of ongoing efforts to establish a workable framework for dialogue and the peaceful resolution of security challenges in northern Nigeria."

He added that the government's consideration of dialogue with the militants "should not be seen as a weakening of its resolve and determination to use all the forces at its disposal to crush all brazen affronts to the powers and sovereignty of the Nigerian nation."

Boko Haram, whose name means "Western education is sacrilege," has killed more than 2,800 people in an escalating campaign to impose strict Islamic law on largely Muslim northern Nigeria, according to Human Rights Watch.

CNN's Nana Karikari-apau contributed to this report.

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