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Nigerian Death Toll Reaches at Least 155 in Past Two Days

May 22 (Bloomberg) -- Suspected Islamist militants intensified their war in Nigeria with two bombings in the central city of Jos and attacks on northeast villages that left at least 155 people dead in two days.

Gunmen have killed about 37 people in attacks in the past two days on three villages in northeastern Borno state, said Mohammed Gava, a local security official. The twin explosions in the business district of Jos on May 20 killed at least 118 people and wounded 65, National Emergency Management Agency spokesman Ezekiel Manzo said by phone from Abuja, the capital.

While no group claimed responsibility for the Jos attack, the Islamist group Boko Haram said it detonated bombs in Abuja on April 14 and May 1 that left about 90 dead, and kidnapped more than 200 schoolgirls last month.

The battle between Boko Haram and the Nigerian security forces has killed at least 2,000 people this year, Amnesty International said May 9. The group, whose name means “western education is a sin” in the local Hausa language, says it’s fighting to impose Islamic law in Africa’s biggest oil producer.

The schoolgirls’ kidnapping in Chibok in Borno state on April 14 has drawn more international attention to the conflict. Countries including the U.S., U.K., France and Israel are helping the authorities with intelligence and reconnaissance to hunt for them. The U.S. deployed about 80 soldiers to neighboring Chad to join the search, the White House said yesterday.

Nigerian lawmakers have approved a six-month extension of a yearlong emergency rule in three northeastern states worst hit by Boko Haram’s insurgency, and President Goodluck Jonathan has ordered the deployment of additional troops there.

To contact the reporters on this story: Elisha Bala-Gbogbo in Abuja at ebalagbogbo@bloomberg.net; Daniel Magnowski in Abuja at dmagnowski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net Dulue Mbachu, Ben Holland

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