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Suspected Boko Haram Militants Kill 30 in Northeast Nigeria

May 24 (Bloomberg) -- Suspected members of Nigerian Islamist sect Boko Haram killed about 30 people in the northeastern state of Borno, a spokesman for a local vigilante group said.

The insurgents “attacked and killed 20 persons in Krenowa and injured some villagers” on May 22, Mohammed Gava said by phone yesterday. “Five persons each were also killed in Makor and Kimba Villages while many houses were burnt down.”

Boko Haram, which President Goodluck Jonathan has described as the al-Qaeda of West Africa, has killed thousands, mainly in northern Nigeria, in its five-year campaign to impose Shariah law on the continent’s biggest oil-producing country. It kidnapped almost 300 girls from a school in Borno on April 14, an act that provoked global outrage and an international effort to find the girls.

Nigerian authorities have been criticized for failing to combat Boko Haram, despite repeated assertions from the military over the past year that it is beating the rebels.

Yesterday’s New York Times cited unidentified foreign diplomats in Nigeria as saying the country’s army is so poorly trained and riddled with corruption that it is incapable of finding the abducted girls and is losing the broader fight against Boko Haram.

Arms Facility

The army discovered a rocket launcher “production facility” in Kano state, military spokesman Chris Olukolade said in an e-mailed statement late yesterday.

“Locally made anti-aircraft gun and mortar accessories as well as rocket-propelled grenade tubes” were recovered, he said.

A suicide car-bombing killed five people on May 18 in Kano, the largest city in Nigeria’s mainly Muslim north.

Jonathan flew yesterday to the South African capital, Pretoria, for talks with other African heads of state about tackling terrorism on the continent, before the inauguration of South African President Jacob Zuma today.

Teams from the U.S. and U.K. are in Nigeria, while Israel and France have also offered to help Nigerian authorities locate the missing girls. The kidnapping was on the same day Boko Haram detonated a car bomb in the capital, Abuja, killing at least 75 people in the city’s worst blast.

To contact the reporters on this story: Gbenga Akingbule in Maiduguri at gakingbule@bloomberg.net; Daniel Magnowski in Abuja at dmagnowski@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Nasreen Seria at nseria@bloomberg.net Ana Monteiro, Alex Nicholson

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