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Nigeria: "At least 50" dead in Boko Haram clashes

Clashes between Nigerian troops and Boko Haram militants in the northeastern city of Damaturu have killed at least 50 people, an army official said.

Nigeria un bomb 2011 10 3Enlarge
Rescue workers evacuate on August 26, 2011 a wounded man from the UN building of the Nigerian capital Abuja which was rocked by a bomb that killed at least 18 people, leaving others trapped and causing heavy damage. The attack by radical Islamist sect Boko Haram marked a significant escalation in the violence. (Henry Chukwuedo/AFP/Getty Images)

Clashes between Nigerian troops and Islamist militants in the northeastern city of Damaturu have killed at least 50 people in the last few days, according to reports. 

Militants with the Boko Haram group reportedly attacked Damaturu with explosives and gunfire, and battled with Nigerian security forces who dislodged them from a hideout in the north of the city, an army official told reporters in Abuja, the capital.

Bomb attacks and gun battles have also been reported in the cities of Maiduguri and Potiskum.

More from GlobalPost: Explosions and gunfire plague two Nigerian cities

According to Bloomberg, Nigeria's Chief of Army Staff Azubuike Ihejirika said:

There was a major encounter with the Boko Haram in Damaturu. In the encounter, we lost three of our soldiers, seven were wounded. But we killed over 50 of their members.

A dusk to dawn curfew had been imposed on the city, a police commissioner told Reuters.

Nigerian security forces had information the Boko Haram militants planned to cause “mayhem” during the “festive season,” Ihejirika said, according to Bloomberg

More from GlobalPost: Nigeria bomb escalates Islamic extremist violence

Boko Haram, which means “Western education is a sin,” claimed responsibility for a suicide car-bomb attack on the United Nations building in Abuja that killed 24 people in August. It was their largest bomb attack and followed months of increasing violence centered on northeastern Nigeria.

There are reports that the group has forged alliances with terrorist groups in neighboring African countries, including an Al Qaeda affiliate operating in Mali, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb. Boko Haram itself has claimed ties with Al Shabaab Islamic militants in Somalia.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/africa/nigeria/111224/nigeria-terrorism-attacks-islamist-militants-boko-haram-clashes-damaturu