Militants kill dozens of people in Nigeria

In this photo of Thursaday, Oct.21, 2010,  Al-Shabaab fighters display weopons as they conduct military exercises in northern Mogadishu, Somalia A failed offensive by Somalia's strongest insurgent group has left at least 20 people dead as the Islamist group attempted to recapture a district in southwestern Somalia from government forces, an official and a witness said Friday.   The attempt by al-Shabab, an al-Qaida-linked Somali militia, to win back a district near Kenya's border left 12 people injured, said local resident Osman Gelle. Gelle said the violence, which started Thursday afternoon, was the worst he had seen in more than a year.   Somali government forces took over the Beled-Hawa district last Sunday in an offensive launched to take back areas held by militants. Al-Shabab militants took control of the area in Jan. 2009 after Ethiopian troops, who had entered to support Somalia's transitional government, withdrew from Somalia. The militia group briefly lost control of the town in Aug. 2009 to Ahlu Sunna Waljamea, a moderate Islamist group allied to the government. (AP Photo/Mohamed Sheikh Nor)
In this photo of Thursaday, Oct.21, 2010, Al-Shabaab fighters display weopons as they conduct military exercises in northern Mogadishu, Somalia A failed offensive by Somalia’s strongest insurgent group has left at least 20 people dead as the Islamist group attempted to recapture a district in southwestern Somalia from government forces, an official and a witness said Friday. The attempt by al-Shabab, an al-Qaida-linked Somali militia, to win back a district near Kenya’s border left 12 people injured, said local resident Osman Gelle. Gelle said the violence, which started Thursday afternoon, was the worst he had seen in more than a year. Somali government forces took over the Beled-Hawa district last Sunday in an offensive launched to take back areas held by militants. Al-Shabab militants took control of the area in Jan. 2009 after Ethiopian troops, who had entered to support Somalia’s transitional government, withdrew from Somalia. The militia group briefly lost control of the town in Aug. 2009 to Ahlu Sunna Waljamea, a moderate Islamist group allied to the government.
(AP Photo/Mohamed Sheikh Nor)
A series of attacks by suspected Boko Haram militants, in Nigeria’s central and northeast has left dozens dead.

Two attacks on mosques in Jos and one attack on a church in Potiskum are the latest in a series of deadly attacks.

Two bombs exploded at a crowded mosque and an elite Muslim restaurant in Nigeria’s central city of Jos, killing 44 people, officials said Monday.

A restaurant and a mosque were targeted on Sunday night.

No-one has claimed responsibility but militant group Boko Haram has attacked Jos before, even though it is not in north-east Nigeria where the Islamists normally operate.

Sixty-seven other people were wounded in the attacks Sunday night and were being treated at hospitals, said National Emergency Management Agency coordinator Abdussalam Mohammed.

The explosion at the Yantaya Mosque came as leading cleric Sani Yahaya of the Jama’atu Izalatul Bidia organization, which preaches peaceful co-existence of all religions, was addressing a crowd during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, according to survivors who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.

Sunday’s attacks are the latest in a string blamed on Boko Haram that have killed more than 200 people over the past week in northeast Nigeria.

The extremists returned Sunday to northeastern villages attacked three days earlier, killing nine villagers and burning down 32 churches and about 300 homes, said Stephen Apagu, chairman of a vigilante self-defense group in Borno state’s Askira-Uba local government area.

Meanwhile the United States has condemned a string of attacks by Boko Haram militants in northeastern Nigeria that killed more than 200 people in the past week, including a suicide bombing at a church Sunday that left at least five dead.

In a statement late Sunday, State Department spokesman John Kirby pledged U.S. support for the Nigerian people “in their struggle against violent extremism.”

“We continue to support Nigeria’s efforts to bring those responsible for these attacks, as well as previous attacks to justice,” Kirby said. “As we have said before, the people of northern Nigeria deserve to live free from violence and terror.”

Witnesses said Sunday’s attack in Potiskum, the largest city in Yobe state, involved a bomber disguised as a church member who detonated explosives shortly after entering the building.

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