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Three Nigerian Policemen Killed by Suspected Islamic Militants

Three Nigerian policemen were killed by unidentified gunmen suspected to be members of the outlawed Islamic militant Boko Haram sect, a police official said.

Two policemen were shot dead last night in Maiduguri, capital of the northeastern Borno state, by four people dressed in black overalls riding on motorbikes, Ibrahim Abdu, commissioner of police in the state, said in a phone interview. A third policeman was killed at his house in Maiduguri, Abdu said, without providing further details.

The killings bring to six the number of policemen killed in Maiduguri in the past five weeks.

The Boko Haram sect, which opposes Western-style education and draws inspiration from Afghanistan’s Taliban, attacked police stations across several northern Nigerian cities in July 2009, prompting the government to deploy troops. At least 700 people died in the fighting, leading Nigeria’s security forces to shell the sect’s headquarters in Maiduguri. Boko Haram’s 39-year-old leader, Mohammed Yusuf, was killed.

Nigeria, Africa’s top oil producer, is roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and a predominantly Christian south.

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